Peru’s blueberry exports have the green light for explosive growth, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says.
Expanding from near zero five years ago to 10,000 acres today and growing, surging demand from the U.S., Europe, and China is fueling greater acreage of blueberries, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report.
The U.S. is Peru’s main export market, taking just over half of blueberry exports in 2016 (54%), followed by shipments to Netherlands (24%), the United Kingdom (13%) and Canada (2%).
For 2017, the USDA said total exports of Peruvian blueberries are projected to reach 40,000 metric tons, up 42% from 28,139 metric tons in 2016 and nearly four times the exports of 10,303 metric tons in 2015. The bulk of Chile’s fresh blueberry exports to the U.S. arrive from September to December, though export shipments can begin in August and continue into April.
Peru’s blueberry farms are found mostly in the in the northern coastal region of La Libertad, where the sunny and dry climate allows for nearly year-round harvest. Popular varieties in Peru are biloxi, emerald and springhigh, and the USDA said yields average 6-8 eight metric tons per acre.
Ranking third among Peru’s fresh fruit exports, total fresh blueberry export values rose 150% in 2016 to $242 million. Average prices for Peru’s fresh blueberry exports declined from about $5 per pound in 2015 to $3.15 per pound in 2016, according to the USDA.