Variety renewal drives growth in blueberry production in Chile

Chilean exports of fresh blueberries will once again have a new record this season 2019-20. It is expected to export 115.000 tons, an 4% more than the previous season.

The increase in exports is based on the new plantations registered in recent years, which have been carried out to renovate orchards but also to increase area. This new area, estimated at more than 4.000 has in the last 4 years, will fully express its productive potential in the coming years when they all reach full production.

In the current season, however, the behavior of the climate will reduce the productive potential of the country, both due to the lower accumulation of cold hours that occurred in winter, as well as the number of frosts that have been occurring since the end of August. In addition, exporters associated with the Blueberry Committee are stopping to export a significant number of varieties that historically have not exhibited good post-harvest behavior.

Therefore, it is expected that production will be at 160.000 tons, with 115.000 tons of fresh export, 41.000 tons of frozen and 4.000 tons that will be mobilized locally.

The new plantation records show a net increase of 2.500 ha, reaching the 18.374 ha of blueberries in Chile. In recent years the crop showed signs of stabilization and it was thought that the large number of plants sold, mostly of new varieties, was to renovate orchards only, however, there is a net surface growth that will boost exports again, especially for the renewal of better quality and more productive varieties of fruit.

Of this increase, 92% is concentrated in the Maule regions; Ñuble and Bio Bio, the production area par excellence, which will strengthen its position in the market.

Another aspect to keep in mind is the advance observed in the sprouting of blueberries in Chile this season. The lower winter cold and days of high temperatures in August, woke up early to the blueberries and there is currently an average advance of 1 week in the development of the fruits compared to a normal season.

However, at the beginning of October a review of the estimate will be delivered considering the climate effect of September on the total volume to be exported and especially on the dynamics of crops that will be taken in the 2019-20 season.