With 117 tons exported during week 11, the end of the 2020-21 season of blueberries from Chile has arrived, with some minimum volumes still to be exported. This campaign marked a new export record, with 118,225 tons shipped up to week 11, showing an increase of 8.2% compared to the previous year and 6% more than the initially estimated of 111,500 tons.
The beginning of the season was marked by higher export volumes from the Coquimbo and Valparaíso regions, which also concentrated their shipments on organic blueberries. This increase is due more than anything to an increase in acreage, varietal change and an improve in the production technologies. Meanwhile, the northern and central zone benefited from greater water availability during the winter, which gave a respite to the producers who were affected by the drought in 2019/20 and the southern area benefited from the weather, without heavy rains in the late part of the season.
Consequently, the fruit presented a good filling and size. However, ripening was observed in line with a normal year and the accumulated exports presented lower volumes than the previous year for all of December and part of January. This was also influenced by the lack of harvesters in that period. Only in the second half of January and later, the trend in the shipments took a turn, with a record export week that exceeded the 14,900 tons (week 3) and from then on, the trend of weekly shipments remained above the previous season. Thus, in this late period (which runs from week 3 to 11), 43,509 tons have been exported, 39% more than in 2019/20 in the same period.
Among the reasons that explain the higher volume of Chile are 1) Increase in the planted area, albeit slight. 2) Replacement of orchards for more productive varieties and 3) The beginning of the Systems Approach for the Ñuble and Biobio regions, which diverted fruit from the frozen industry into fresh exports.
The above benefited the shipments of fresh organic blueberries from these regions and, in sum, total exports in this category reached a record figure with 20,871 tons, presenting an increase of 34% compared to the previous year and an 18% share of the total exports.
Regarding destination markets, North America maintained the leadership with a 55% share and a 14% increase in volume this season, Europe presented a 34% share and a growth of 11% and the Far East a 10% stake and a 27% drop in the volumes.
With the above, we close the 2020-2021 blueberry season in Chile, we hope to meet again the next season.
CHILEAN BLUEBERRY EXPORTS, BY WEEK AND ACCUMULATED UP TO WEEK 11, IN TONS