Carlos Esteve, commercial director of Onubafruit:

"We are expanding the production of blueberries in Huelva, adding value and offering a better service than imports from overseas"

The first extra-early blueberry harvests began in Huelva in September, with limited quantities that will not increase until December. Onubafruit, which launched its own program of exclusive blueberry varieties last year to allow Huelva's production calendar to "gain ground" to imports from the southern hemisphere, is growing in volume this year and expects to triple next season.

"We started harvesting the first blueberries of our earliest variety, the Demba, in the third week of September. Right now, we continue to work with very limited volumes and intermittent harvests. As of the end of November, larger quantities will arrive and then we will be able to provide a service without interruptions," says Carlos Esteve, commercial director of Onubafruit, "if everything goes according to plan, we will have Demba production until the beginning of March."

Some of the varieties in this Onubafruit program are Selma, Dana, Aila and Lena. There are two more varieties that have yet to be given a name and achieved commercial status. All of them are part of a harvest calendar with good production volumes between January and the end of April. "This year we will reach 3.000 tons, a figure that we hope to triple next season," says Carlos Esteve. The objective of this exclusive blueberry variety program is to be able to produce at times when it was previously unfeasible in Huelva, with more consistent quantities in the future, as well as to improve the quality of the market supply, both in terms of quality and size. ”.

"Although we have already started planning the launch of varieties that will lengthen the Spanish season in the future in order to be able to produce as long as possible, we see the greatest potential in the first part of the campaign, that is why we are betting on that now. In this period we are competing with countries like South Africa, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Right now, Peru's production is at its peak, with volumes that are between 30 and 35% higher than this time last season, so prices are already very competitive," says the commercial director of Onubafruit.

"We believe that, with our early varieties, we will be able to add value to the current offer abroad, providing a fresher product that will not need to travel for more than 3 weeks and that will stand out in size and flavor and offering a more flexible service to consumers. European customers. It is important to remember that the world logistics situation still does not show signs of improvement, with freight rates at dizzying prices and uncertainty about the availability of ships and delivery times for fruit from the southern hemisphere. We can provide a better service in all aspects”, said Carlos Esteve.

Onubafruit's fruit is mainly destined for European markets, although occasional shipments are also made to Asian markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. “We are looking at other possibilities, such as the recently opened markets of Brazil and Canada. In Canada, blueberries are produced quite late, since it has a cold climate, so we would compete mainly with Mexico and Peru. The dollar-euro exchange rates could also be an incentive for us to consider turning to this trade window for our blueberries.”

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