09 Dec 2022

COCONUT FIBER AND SUBSTRATES: THE KEY TO PERU'S FUTURE

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Peru is an unquestionable global success story; it started from scratch and in just 5 years managed to become the undisputed king in the production of blueberries, in the period 2020-2021 it sent abroad a total of 162,459 tons amounting to $1 billion.

Currently, there are an estimated 60 different varieties cultivated in the country, and with this expands the value proposition Peru has to offer markets around the world, according to the Peru Association of Producers and Exporters of blueberries (Problueberries).

This not only represents more opportunities, but also forces domestic producers to adopt the best technologies to produce more with less, sustainably, and expand their presence in the competitive world market for fresh blueberries .

THE ADVANTAGES OF COCONUT FIBER SUBSTRATE

So how to achieve the maximum potential in new varieties of blueberries to meet the standards required by international markets? To achieve this goal, it is necessary to have standardized production systems.

The technology package of potted substrate and coconut fiber has proven to be the equivalent of a factory at blueberries, as it is the ideal production vehicle because:

  • Reduces the risks of farming in the soil (pathogens, diseases).
  • Much more standardized production is achieved due to homogeneous soil for plant development.
  • Plants are healthier and have greater root development, that is, more roots. This results in higher production.
  • Reduced mortality.
  • The bottom is more uniform and cleaner, also avoiding, with the complement of ground cover, grass and weeds.
Bags of coconut fiber and substrate for growing in pots.
Bags of coconut fiber and substrate for growing in pots.
Bags of coconut fiber and substrate for growing in pots.

A SOLUTION TO WATER WASTE

It is no secret that water scarcity is at alarming levels around the world. So what happens in areas of Peru that have a good climate, excellent soil, but do not have enough water? To overcome this limitation, the technology package of pots and coconut fiber is a very viable option, as it promotes greater moisture retention.

"Through our experience with the southern and northern Peruvian producers we have worked with, the success stories tell us that they save between 40 percent and 50 percent of water when planting in a pot and in a coconut fiber substrate, compared to the floor." Claims Raúl Mercado, CEO and co-founder of DIDIHU Global, a hydroponic agricultural technology company.

"This is an important point for all areas of Peru that have excellent soils but a great water limitation, as hydroponics also increases their productivity. For example, by going from soil to pot, instead of planting 100 hectares in soil, you can achieve more than 150 hectares in pots," he continues.

Raúl Mercado, CEO and co-founder of DIDIHU Global.
Raúl Mercado, CEO and co-founder of DIDIHU Global.

"The pot and coco package is ideal for new varieties of blueberry, since normally the varieties that are planted in the ground are plants that are five, six, seven or even more years old, so they are less productive varieties (fewer kilos per plant)."

"Therefore, it is not only a matter of developing new varieties that are more productive, larger in caliber (size) and more "transportable" (in 2021, due to international logistical problems, it took up to 60 days for blueberries to be able to go from Peru to Asia), but of accompanying them with the ideal vehicle that will allow us to have more plants per hectare and, moreover, to do so in a sustainable way by being much more efficient in the use of water resources."

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OF MOMENTUM INTO THE FUTURE

"We are reaching a crucial time for the industry at blueberry. The only way to protect it and continue to be a good business for everyone is through differentiation. As producers, we need to invest in quality in specific varieties and post-harvest management, as well as technology to continue to be strong in international markets and for this to lead to a better selling price. Also, in this way, ensure that the blueberry industry can continue to be profitable not only now, but also in the years to come."

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

Photo: DIDIHU Global

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