Weekly Product Updates

W28: Blueberry Update

Fresh Blueberry
Published Jul 21, 2023

In W28 in the blueberry landscape, in the first half of 2023, Peru experienced a substantial surge in fresh blueberry exports, reaching 34.68 million kg. This remarkable increase of 42.71%, compared to the same period in the previous year, highlights the growing demand for Peruvian blueberries in international markets. The shipments of fresh blueberries from Jan-23 to Jun-23 showed consistent growth compared to the same period in 2022. The United States (US), the Netherlands, China, the United Kingdom (UK), and Hong Kong emerged as the primary destination markets for Peruvian blueberries during this period. Peru's blueberry exports surpassed 1 thousand metric tons (mt) per week in W27 for the first time in 2023, with 1.03 thousand mt, an increase of 3% compared to the same period in 2022. A rise of 8% in shipments abroad, reaching a total of 2.91 thousand mt compared to the same period last year. During W27, blueberries were delivered to 17 destinations, with the top three markets being China (30%), the US (20%), and the Netherlands (15%), accounting for a combined 65% share. Peru's success in shipping 309 mt to China represents a threefold increase from the previous week and a substantial 68% growth compared to W27 of the previous year. However, blueberry imports to the US declined by 8% compared to W26 and 17% compared to the same week last year, with 207 mt imported.

Furthermore, warmer winter temperatures in Peru are causing delays in blueberry harvests, indicating potential early signs of the El Niño weather phenomenon. Efforts to protect crops with conventional methods have not yielded significant results yet. Although weather conditions have slightly improved, with minimum temperatures around 19 °C and maximum temperatures around 32°C in late June, the situation remains concerning for the agricultural sector. In addition, the Peruvian ambassador to Japan met with the general director of the Consumer and Safety Division of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF), to promote the evaluation and approval process for the entry of Peruvian blueberries into the Japanese market.

British Columbia's blueberry harvest in Abbotsford is set to begin a week early in 2023, thanks to warm weather conditions, with the Duke variety as the first harvest. Despite hot weather affecting pollination, the total crop estimate is yet to be determined. Growers are exploring suitable varieties for mechanical harvesting due to labor challenges. Demand for berries has decreased after an initial surge during COVID, and pricing is under pressure due to competition from Peruvian berries in both fresh and frozen markets. Concerns about potential flooding of the market and softer pricing persist as the season progresses.

The Polish blueberry season has started, leading to price fluctuations due to increasing supply. At the beginning of the season, blueberries were priced at USD 22.62/kg (PLN 90/kg). However, as the blueberry supply grew, prices began to decline significantly. In the wholesale market of Bronisze, Poland, blueberry prices rose from USD 6.03-6.54/kg (PLN 24-26/kg) to USD 6.79-8.05/kg (PLN 27-32/kg) in W27. Similarly, on the Zjazdów wholesale market, the price was approximately USD 6.79/kg (PLN 27/kg). On the other hand, the Moldovan blueberry market has experienced stagnation over the past three years. In 2021-23, the average wholesale prices for Moldovan blueberries stood at USD 9.71-10.28/kg (MDL 170-180/kg) from June to early July and dropped to USD 8-10/kg (MDL 140-175/kg) in mid-July. This downward price trend has contributed to the stagnation in the Moldovan blueberry market in recent years. In Jun-23, Georgia's blueberry exports reached a record 1.80 thousand mt, marking a substantial increase compared to the same period in 2022. Export volumes in Jun-23 were four times higher than the previous year and 35% higher than the total exports in 2022. The Russian market remains the primary destination for Georgian blueberries. Lastly, Zimbabwean growers are investing USD 164.23 million (GDP 127 million) to expand the cultivation of blueberries, citrus, coffee, and flowers. The Horticulture Development Council has presented a plan to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency for the expansion. According to the Ministry of Agriculture's crop assessment report, Zimbabwe expects a 69% increase in blueberry harvest in 2023, making it the fastest-growing horticultural crop in the country.

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