EastFruit analysts actively discussed the prospects for blueberry pricing during the World Berry Congress on November 28, 2023. Unprecedentedly high prices this season resulted from reduced production and export from Peru due to unfavorable weather during berry flowering. Congress participants anticipate sustained high blueberry prices until the season's end. Despite Peru's recovering export volumes, prices persist due to continued high demand. Traders predict sustained high prices for Northern Hemisphere suppliers like Morocco and Spain. Georgia and Ukraine may also benefit when their blueberry harvest begins. Some producers anticipate a relatively weak blueberry harvest in Peru in 2024.
Mexico emerges as the eighth-largest global exporter of fresh blueberries, generating USD 490 million sales in over four years with a 15.5% average annual growth rate. The United States is the primary destination, accounting for 94.9% of Mexican blueberry exports. Japan and Canada follow as the second and third-largest consumers. Mexico's success in blueberry production and trade is credited to diverse climates supporting optimal development. Former Aneberries president, now leads Naturberry, emphasizing productivity and sustainability. Blueberry movement from Mexico remains steady, concluding a successful holiday rush with overall good market conditions.
The North American Blueberry Council's annual production report, presented at the Blueberry Summit, highlights the conclusion of the tall blueberry season in North America. The United States maintains its global leadership in blueberry production, covering 38 states across four major regions. In 2023, the US produced 323 thousand tons (711.2 million pounds) of blueberries, mirroring 2022 figures. The report anticipates a potential production increase in 2024.
University of Florida researchers have discovered genetic factors that could revolutionize Florida's blueberry market, potentially yielding fresh blueberries in the fall. Traditionally, Florida's blueberry season spans from February to May. The study, assessing 536 Southern Highbush blueberry varieties in Waldo, FL, revealed some varieties capable of fall production, defying the typical short-day plant behavior. Patricio Muñoz, UF/IFAS associate professor and blueberry breeder, led the study to explore the feasibility of establishing a profitable fall production in Florida.
In W32, prices reached the three-year average, marking a significant rebound. The Peruvian blueberry campaign started early in W18 due to weather conditions, peaking in W43 at USD 8.50 per kilogram (kg). Global climate impacts contribute to a market-wide shortage, with a 55.6% increase in 2023 prices, reaching USD 7.93/kg in the US and a 57.4% rise to USD 7.66/kg in the Netherlands. Peru faces challenges in 2023/24 with a 31% decline in fresh blueberry exports to 207 thousand tons by W46. The US imports 34% less where the Netherlands and China witness declines of 35% and 28%. Senasa approves 75 thousand Chilean blueberry plants for entry into Peru in Dec-23, emphasizing strict packaging and phytosanitary measures. Compliance with these measures, including clean, refrigerated, and sealed vehicles, is crucial, with tampering resulting in shipment denial.