An 8 percent increase from 2023 is forecast for Mexican blueberry shipments, according to a new USDA report.
The U.S. is the top export market for Mexican blueberries, accounting for about 97% market share.
Mexico’s 2024 blueberry production is pegged at 81,000 metric tons, an increase because of sufficient water access and growing export demand, according to the report.
With more than 71,000 metric tons exported in 2022, Mexico ships more than 95 percent of their blueberries to the U.S. market.
The rate of production growth for Mexican blueberries is projected to be slower in 2024 than it was in 2023 due to competition from Peru, according to the USDA.
In 2023, Mexican blueberry production reached an estimated 74,800 metric tons, a 12 percent increase over the previous year due to production innovations and strong export demand.
Mexico’s blueberry industry has seen rapid growth in the past decade, with rising prices encouraging growers to expand production or switch from other crops to blueberries.
Mexican blueberry volume grew more than 80 percent between 2017 and 2022, with Mexico currently the world’s fifth-largest blueberry producer.
Mexico’s harvest use to start in early October, peaking between late April and early May. In contrast, for the 2024 harvest, producers have taken steps to delay the start of the harvest to early February in response to competition from Peru, which offers a similar product at lower prices during the October to January period, according to the USDA.
Producers are actively switching away from the biloxi blueberry variety to take advantage of the ongoing development of improved varieties that provide higher yields and better taste. 23 percent of the blueberry area is currently planted with the biloxi variety and 74 percent is planted with proprietary varieties.
The vast majority of Mexican blueberries are exported. Mexican blueberry exports totaled 71,509 metric tons in 2022, down about 2 percent compared to 2021.