31 Jul 2023

Fall Creek is expanding in Peru and planning the future growth of blueberries in the country


Starting last year, in July, Fall Creek® expanded its production capacity in Cañete, Peru, increasing production from 12 to 15 million plants to supply the market not only during the peak demand season but also to ensure supply in other months.

"We increased our nursery by five hectares, which puts us in an excellent position to provide growers with extended service throughout the year, beyond the period from July to January when they usually prefer to plant," said Ricardo Polis, Fall Creek's Regional Director for South America.

In recent years, Peru has emerged as a key player in the global blueberry market, thanks to the growth of cultivation areas, favorable climate conditions, and fertile soils. The country has seen exponential growth in blueberry production and has taken significant steps to consolidate its position as a leading blueberry exporter in the region and worldwide.

"Peru is now the world's leading blueberry exporter. Just ten years ago, there were almost no blueberry plantations in the country, but it has proven to be an ideal environment for this crop and now produces with excellent levels of quality and quantity," he said.

Ricardo Polis, direttore regionale di Fall creek® per il Sud America
Ricardo Polis, Regional Director of Fall Creek® for South America.

The country has been able to exploit an opportunity in the market—a gap between North American and Chilean campaigns—and has built its reputation based on quality, profitability, and high productivity.

Initially, the main variety cultivated was Biloxi, an old blueberry variety. Later, Fall Creek® introduced Ventura, a more efficient variety that reduced production costs.

Today, these varieties still constitute the majority of blueberry hectares in the country. However, in recent years, new strains significantly different from the previous ones have been developed.

In the case of Fall Creek®, varieties from the Fall Creek® Collection, such as AtlasBlue™ 'FCM12-045,' AzraBlue™ 'FCM14-031,' and BiancaBlue® 'FCM12-087,' as well as the Sekoya® platform with Sekoya Pop® 'FCM14-052' and Sekoya Beauty® 'FCM12-097,' have repeatedly demonstrated their high quality and profitability.

"These varieties are much better: they have a better taste—sweeter, less acidic—and they are crunchier. Some have aromas different from traditional blueberries, and they are more attractive to producers due to their larger size and high productivity," Ricardo said.

Moreover, they are firm and ideal for traveling during transport, a valuable quality for southern hemisphere countries.

"Countries like Peru, Chile, South Africa, Australia not only have to offer good quality fruit but also have to have the ability to travel for more than 30 days to reach key markets like the United States and Europe, and stay on the shelves for an additional 15 days. This is a very important condition, not only for blueberries but also for other fruit varieties," he explained.

"Growers are quickly adopting new strains, and it is very likely that we will see the complete replacement of previous varieties in the short or medium term," the official said.

Fall Creek's long-term commitment is to continue investing in research and development to improve crop quality and productivity and optimize resource use. As a result, the company plans to introduce a new variety by the end of this year, followed by another in the last quarter of 2024.

"We are contributing to a more sustainable and efficient supply chain, where new genetics will bring about a revolution in the industry. This has already happened in the case of grapes and mandarins, for example, where new varieties have completely replaced the old ones," he explained.

The Peruvian blueberry industry has seen significant growth in recent years, meeting the increasing demand for high-quality, healthy, and antioxidant-rich fruit products.

Furthermore, blueberry cultivation has created job opportunities and stimulated economic growth in rural areas, promoting sustainable development. "I am very pleased to say that the recent expansion of the nursery has also led to a 10% growth in our workforce, which undoubtedly has a very positive impact on our Cañete community," Ricardo said.

"As a leading company in the industry in Peru," he added, "Fall Creek® is committed to continuing to promote innovation and pave the way for the growth and lasting success of the blueberry industry in the country."

Source: Blueberries Consulting
Blueberries Consulting is part of the Italian Berry global network.

Photo: Fall creek®

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