Weekly Product Updates

W47 Blueberry Update: Zimbabwe and Georgia Lead in Blueberry Exports Growth as Peru Struggles Due to El Niño

Fresh Blueberry
Market & Price Trends
Published Dec 1, 2023

Zimbabwe and Georgia Become Global Leaders in the Blueberry Export Growth

Zimbabwe is experiencing a surge in blueberry farming investments from South Africa and other countries due to favorable climatic conditions, availability of high-quality water for irrigation, and inexpensive labor. Investors with prior experience in growing blueberries in similar climatic conditions are leading the development of new plantations, resulting in high productivity and quality. As a result, Zimbabwe's blueberry export volume has grown at an average of 63% annually over the past five years, reaching over 5 thousand metric tons (mt) in 2022 and allowing the country to enter the top 15 nations in blueberry exports.

Moreover, according to EastFruit, Zimbabwe's blueberry export could grow by another 30 to 40% and reach 6.5 to 7 thousand mt in 2023. Given the current high price level for blueberries resulting from a poor harvest in Peru, Zimbabwe could reap substantial profits from exporting blueberries during the upcoming season. While many of the country's blueberry exports are sent to South Africa for re-export, Zimbabwe also directly exports fresh blueberries to destinations including the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU), the Middle East, and Russia.

In addition, similar to Zimbabwe, Georgia's blueberry export volume increased by an average of 50% annually. In 2023, Georgia's blueberry exports surged to 3.4 thousand mt, 2.5 times higher than in 2022. However, it is worth noting that some of these blueberries were grown in Ukraine and then re-exported by Georgian traders to the Russian market. However, blueberry exports from Ukraine in 2023 dropped sharply due to the shrinking local blueberry market caused by the population outflow due to Russian military aggression.

El Niño Hits Blueberry Production in Peru

The Peruvian blueberry industry has suffered greatly due to weather conditions, particularly the El Niño phenomenon, resulting in a 54% year-on-year (YoY) decline in the export volume. The primary export markets, such as the United States (US), the EU, and China, witnessed even more significant YoY reductions of 60%, 55%, and 38%, respectively. Higher prices are expected by producers this year to offset the losses and help the sector recover. Additionally, the conventional volumes of the blueberry harvest have decreased by 51% YoY, and organic volumes have dropped by 61% YoY, with major producing regions like Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, and Áncash experiencing YoY losses of 54%, 75%, 56%, and 29%, respectively. As a result of the significant drop in volumes from Peru, the prices of blueberries have increased in many markets.

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