The world's post-pandemic scenario is opening new opportunities for Argentina's blueberries. Some States' decisions regarding health policy matters have an impact on the governments' quest to guarantee their citizens food security.
This opens a new opportunity for the Argentine blueberry, as the countries that still don't consume it regularly are starting to discover this fruit's quality, flavor, and properties.
This is the case of Saudi Arabia, a market that could be opened to Argentine blueberries this season after a successful business round that took place between local exporters grouped in the Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC) and the Kingdom's large supermarkets.
"The goal of this business round was to start positioning our country as a strategic partner of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to strengthen its food security in the post-pandemic scenario as a reliable supplier of high-quality food," stated Hernan Batinic, the head of the Economic, Political, and Cultural sections of the Argentine Embassy in Saudi Arabia during the opening of the meetings held in the first days of August, a strategic week in which the country starts its harvest.
The president of the Argentine Blueberry Committee (ABC), Alejandro Pannunzio, highlighted during the virtual meeting that Argentina was ready to export blueberries to the Kingdom as soon as they required it. "We have fruit in the required size and quality that is ready to be shipped," he stated.
The sector selected the Saudi Arabian market as a priority, along with other Middle Eastern destinations, within the framework of the Public-Private Council for Export Promotion, CPPPE.
Eight of the most important exporting companies in the sector in Argentina participated in the virtual round: Extraberries / Gamorel SA, EarlyCrop SA, Gramm Agropecuaria SA, King Berry SA, Berries del Sol SA, Berries Mesopotamicos SA, Hortifrut/ Expofresh SA, and Tropical Argentina SA.
The meeting was attended by 5 of Saudi Arabia's main supermarket chains, including a Bahraini chain: Tamimi, Danube, LuluHypermarket, Carrefour, and Al Jazira.
At the end of the meetings, some of the importers announced the completion of operations and the will to include Argentina as a permanent supplier in their supermarkets.
The potential market for the blueberry sector in the countries under the jurisdiction of the Embassy to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (which includes the Kingdom of Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen) is estimated at around $ 15 million annually.
Estimates for the 2021 season
Argentina's blueberry sector expects to produce approximately 16 million kilos of fresh blueberries in the 2021 season, 5 million kilos of which will be from organic production. Five million kilos will be allocated to the domestic market and another five million will be used to produce frozen blueberries.