A good season for Chilean blueberry production and exports to the U.S. through the winter months is anticipated by industry observers.
Last Land Farms SA reports the U.S. market continues to be a major market of the Chilean “blues”, and volume should be similar to the 2019-20 season.
The Chilean Blueberry Committee estimates fresh exports for the current season at 111,500 tons, very close in volume to 2019-20 and 2 percent higher than the previous season.
For 2019-20, Chile’s peak volume months for blueberry shipments to the U.S. were December, January and February. Chilean exporters sent about one third (32 percent) of the country’s annual shipments by value to the U.S. in January last season, followed by February (27 percent) and December (23 percent).
Total Chilean blueberry exports to the U.S. in the 2019-20 season (September 2019 through August 2020) were valued at $209.7 million, off from $269.9 million the previous season and down nearly $110 million from 2017-18.
Chile’s share of total U.S. blueberry imports was 24 percent in 2019, down from 33 percent in 2018 and 44 percent in 2015.
Peru has seen its share of value of U.S. blueberry imports grow from 9 percent in 2015 to 41 percent in 2019.
ACF Global Sourcing reports its fresh blueberry season should be around 112,000 tons, but if markets during the last weeks of December, January and February show unexpected returns and those are favorable, the total exports could increase 5 to 10 percent. The company has about 15,000 to 20,000 tons which could go to either fresh or frozen depending on markets.