Blueberry production consolidates in Boyaca, Colombia
November 22, 2019

Producers from the region of Boyaca have only been producing blueberries of the Biloxi, Legacy, and Duke varieties allowed by the Agricultural Institute of Colombia, ICA, for the past four years in an area of 200 hectares. The region's tropical climate allows producing quality blueberries throughout the year, positioning Boyaca as the strategic center from where the Colombian blueberry industry can become an actor in this fruit's international market. In addition, the region, which is located in central Colombia, has good road conditions to access the country's ports in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Oscar Leonel Gonzalez is a technical assistant in blueberries and a specialist advisor in international trade. He has been working with blueberry producers in Boyaca for three years, advising them on how to export the fruit to the US and Europe, and helping them to create the Association of Blueberry Producers of Boyaca, which is formed by 17 producers and has the support of the Government of Boyaca. Being in an association allows producers to present projects to the Ministry of Agriculture and obtain vegetative material and technical assistance. Nationally, they are associated with Asocolblue, which brings together the whole blueberry industry in Colombia and that aims at being recognized as the producers with the highest growth rate in Colombia's fruit sector in 2020.

According to Gonzalez, “Boyaca has spectacular comparative advantages in terms of land, water, territorial location, port infrastructure, air, packaging and storage services, among other things. However, it's important to bring the vegetative material from outside the country, from the US or from Chile, as our nurseries are still in their learning process,” the advisor highlighted. “Our nurseries are starting on a small scale. We are in the process of learning. We have been carrying out successful and unsuccessful tests for the past 4 years. We have had to dispose of plants because they do not generate yields and because they do not have the right characteristics.”

Vanessa Baez, manager of the Glob Berry company, dedicated exclusively to blueberries in Colombia, agreed with Oscar Gonzalez regarding the state of this emerging Colombian industry. “Blueberry production is currently concentrated in three regions in the country, Antioquia, Cundinamarca, and Boyaca. Boyaca has the ideal conditions for the cultivation of blueberries. In addition, we have people that can work this delicate product as the workforce we need comes from the flower producing sector.”

Currently, approximately 20 tons of blueberries are being collected in Boyaca per week, which is equivalent to about 1,000 tons per year. The region has large tracts of land where producers could implement large blueberry production projects, as there are more than 4,000 hectares where more than 70% of their soils have an adequate pH for blueberry cultivation, as well as black soil for good root development.