Blueberries in southern Chile: adapting to changes

The American blueberry is the main fruit crop in Los Lagos. According to data from the last cadastre prepared by the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa) with support from the National Resources Center (Ciren, in the region there are 971 ha of blueberry planted in 2019, which represents an increase of 8,25% with respect to 2016.

In this context, the next November 7 at 8: 30 hours at the Hotel Diego de Almagro in Osorno will be held the seminar "Blueberries in southern Chile: adapting to changes".

This event organized by Corfo Los Lagos and the Blueberry Committee, an organization linked to the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG (Asoex), will feature the participation of leading specialists. Ruy Barbosa of the company Northbay Chile; Ernesto Cisternas of the Institute of Agricultural Research; Gustavo Lobos, University of Talca; Richard Bastías, Universidad de Concepción and the meteorologist, Gianfranco Marcone will develop issues related to production, market and future challenges.

ORGANIC

Julia Pinto, technical manager of the Blueberry Committee of Chile, said that this seminar will focus on organic production.

“We want to show what happens with the markets of Europe and the United States. Organic blueberries can be taken from La Araucanía to the south and the United States is the main buyer, so we want a look at what is happening with the demands, with the volumes of organic production and that will be given by the industry itself through a company that sends fruit to the United States. It will be a global look at organic production, ”he said.

Challenges

Pinto also stated that in both organic and conventional production it is important to work on the quality and condition of the fruit that is exported.

"We have to be clear that Chile is a very important player in the production and export of blueberries, but at present there are other relevant actors in the production of blueberries from contraestation, such as Peru," he said.

Precisely, to face this competition, the expert said that you must bet on varieties that have good fruit condition and that can reach the destination markets well. At this point, the general manager of the Committee said that they are advancing in a varietal replacement and thus remove from the game those that are not meeting the requirements.

The protection of orchards in the context of climate change is another challenge in this area. “To analyze and update the issue of climate change is that we have invited the meteorologist, Gianfranco Marcone. We are investing in new varieties and it is genetics that is not cheap, so if we are in an area of ​​climatic risk we have to protect ourselves, ”he concluded.