Agronometrics Shorts: Peruvian Blueberry Export Volumes Face a 50% Decline Year-on-Year

By Agronometrics | 20 September 2023

The Peruvian blueberry export campaign is grappling with substantial challenges, primarily due to the adverse effects of the El Niño phenomenon. Data compiled by Fresh Fruit Peru reveals that as of mid-September, blueberry shipments from Peru stood at a mere 40,527 tonnes, marking a significant 50 percent drop compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. In the week spanning from September 4th to 10th (Week 36), exports to the United States plummeted by 64 percent, reaching just 3,513 tonnes. Luis Miguel Vegas, the General Manager of the industry association Proarándanos, attributes this dramatic decline in production to the elevated temperatures resulting from the El Niño phenomenon. He further cautioned that the initial forecasts predicting a 10-15 percent decline in volume for the blueberry season, which runs from May 2023 to April 2024, may need to be revised downward given the current circumstances. One variety particularly impacted by the adverse weather conditions is Ventura, which covers an expansive 6,000 hectares and accounts for a substantial 35 percent of all blueberry exports from Peru. Presence of alternative blueberry suppliers like Argentina and South Africa can help alleviate some of the supply pressure during this challenging period. However, Peru’s dominant position in recent years has been so robust that the current shortage is bound to have ripple effects, causing prices to escalate accordingly. Ian Crispin, commercial director of Pacific Produce pointed out the discrepancy in forecasts, stating, “The numbers from Peru are a bit mixed; some say it is facing a decrease of approximately 15 percent this year, others suggest the number could be even larger. What is certain is that it will be a very slow and delayed start. Usually, we’re in full swing with arrivals by the end of September, but I don’t see that really happening until around the end of October. The supply curve could be a lot flatter too, so while the very high prices we’re starting to see might come down as we approach November, it’s certainly not going to be a buyer’s marketplace this year.” The Peruvian blueberry industry finds itself facing an uphill battle due to the adverse effects of El Niño, with far-reaching implications for global blueberry supply and prices.

blueberry volumes by his 9

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

blueberry prices by hist 11

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

Written by: Sarah Ilyas

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