Red River Valley Potatoes Shipments Start; Uruguay Expects 65% Increase in Blueberry Exports

Red River Valley Potatoes Shipments Start; Uruguay Expects 65% Increase in Blueberry Exports

A23The harvest of red and yellow potatoes in the Red River Valley is underway by Black Gold Farms of Grand Forks, ND, according to a press release. In the southern hemisphere, Uruguay is looking to increase blueberry exports.

The grower-shipper has production in numerous states, but “this is our backyard,” Black Gold CEO Eric Halverson said. The company will be harvesting the potatoes in the region for a month, and will store and ship them into April.

“The early quality samples that we’re seeing look fantastic, and we’re ready to get them on the road,” Black Gold Farms’ fresh sales manager Keith Groven said in the release.


Uruguayan Blueberries

The Uruguayan blueberry industry is expecting a significant increase in exports this coming season.

The Union of Horticultural Producers and Exporters of Uruguay (Upefruy) estimated exports will increase 65 percent year-on-year to 2,000 metric tons (MT), up from 1,210 MT last year.

The small South American country has been hit by numerous hail storms over the last couple of years, which have at times destroyed 100 percent of production on some farms.

Exports started in August, with volumes to peaking in September and October and winding down in November.

Last season 45 percent was exported to the U.S. and 35 percent to Europe, all via airfreight.  This year, the country expects to see 40 percent shipped to the U.S., 45 percent to Europe and 15 percent to the U.K.

Uruguay officials point out that the Chinese market access had been finalized in late 2016, but the market remained unattractive due to a 30 percent tariff.

So for now  the country is going to maintain and develop existing markets like the U.S. and Canada, Europe and the U.K., Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The Uruguayan blueberry industry is exploring new ways related to packing and transportation that the industry can become more competitive.

The country is looking develop the industry, putting emphasis on the taste and color of the fruit, and trying to be more rational in the use of resources to be more competitive on price.