Agronometrics in Charts: Surge in Peruvian Blueberry Exports Expected Despite Political Instability

By Agronometrics | 26 January 2023

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Charts’ series, Sarah Ilyas studies the state of the Peruvian blueberry season. Each week the series looks at a different horticultural commodity, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

According to data presented by the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCRP) export volumes of Peruvian blueberries during the final months of 2022 reached 210MT, surpassing 2021 figures by 36% in October. Blueberry shipments reported through October 2022 were valued at US$1.1 billion, increasing by 20% year-on-year. During the first week of 2023, 4,708 tons of Peruvian blueberries were exported, a 28% decrease from the same period the year before. Despite this, Peru has so far exported 301,389 tons, a 27% increase over the previous season. More than 62 blueberry varieties are either registered or being developed in Peru, with research focused on high productivity and uniform performance. In terms of fruit profiles, Peruvian producers are pursuing berries which are vigorous, firm, extra-large, sweet, less tart, crunchy, and can endure long chilling.

“We have already shipped about 90% of the volume for this season. We are well into the tail end of our season and expect it to end during the last week in March,” states Luis Miguel Vegas, manager of the Association of Blueberries Producers of Peru (Proarándanos). “The ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the ripple effects in markets together with high prices etc. will make it challenging during 2023 just as it has been last year. Although we will grow in volume, it will be a challenging year due to the international context. We have been facing various challenges such as the rise in freight costs, as well as the increase in agro-input costs, negatively impacting companies,” he stated.

As a direct result of the current strikes in the country, producers and exporters face financial difficulties. Less labor is available daily to reach the farm. When harvests are frequently delayed, there is less volume available for exports, and the already-harvested produce faces the challenge of making it to the port or airport in time for exports. Exporters continue to experience obstructed access roads and delays getting to the port to catch the vessels. There are regions that are more affected than others, such as the south of Peru compared to the north, but road access is still restricted. In addition, labor and packaging materials cannot reach the farm on time.

blueberry volumes by his 10

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

One of the primary objectives for 2023 is to be able to significantly boost shipments to certain places where the Peruvian blueberry does not have as much involvement, Israel being one of the main countries. The Asian market has also come under scrutiny, as efforts are being made to open up nations like South Korea and Indonesia. With a 55% share of the market so far this season, the United States has been this product’s primary market, followed by the Netherlands with a 25% share.

“The peak of exports was 21,333 tons in week 38, with the year 2022 ending 33% higher than the peak of the previous year. With this positive variation, the volume shipped closed above 277 thousand tons. Although most weeks experienced a positive variation, there were weeks where the volume registered was below the previous one, as a result of the crisis and political instability that resulted in losses for agribusiness. It is estimated that the losses after the end of last year’s riots was $250 million for the major export crops of blueberries, table grapes, avocados and mangos,” says Luis.

blueberry prices by hist 6

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The social unrest that struck the country at the end of 2022 forced businesses to delay harvesting, resulting in an accumulation of fruit that must be picked and shipped in the coming weeks. In 2023, exports are anticipated to increase by approximately 25 percent to more than 365,000 tonnes. In addition to the larger volumes harvested in the first three months of the year, the increase is also a result of new acreage entering production in the second half of the year. According to FreshFruit Peru, the increased volume would not be matched by a corresponding increase in value as a result of falling international prices. It anticipates a total revenue of $1.7 billion in 2023, a 21 percent increase over the previous year.

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions.If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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