05 Oct 2022

BLUEBERRIES, RANKINGS OF WORLD PRODUCTION EXCEEDING 1 MILLIO...

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Globally, the blueberries 2021-2022 season was marked by problems that complicated the economic solvency of small and medium-sized producers.

Rising inflation has increased the prices of supplies for growing blueberries, reducing profitability. This effect has been exacerbated by the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine and its effect on the shortage of nitrogen fertilizer, the raw materials for which come mainly from Russia and Belarus, countries economically sanctioned for initiating the war. 

This was compounded by delays in shipping by sea, which resulted in loss of fruit quality and value, and for those who could afford it, investment in post-harvest technologies. 

The last post-pandemic season accelerated changes in the industry that affected the production of established supply chains while others, such as Mexico and Morocco, benefited from the scenario for their competitive advantages.  

YIELD PER HECTARE

Data reported in the latest report of the International Blueberry Organization (IBO), show that emerging industries in the sector have been able to stand out in this ranking because of the trend toward varietal substitution.

The delay in shipping by sea has accelerated the shift to varieties with qualities more valued by retailers and consumers: flavor, crispness, and size. These help increase the price of the final product, which together with increased yield-and in many cases longer post-harvest life-reduce or limit the risk of lost revenue due to logistical problems. 

YIELD OF BLUEBERRIES BY COUNTRY (KILOGRAMS PER HECTARE)

Country20202021Change
annual
Peru16.37919.20617,26%
Spain18.69519.0091,68%
Namibia13.60017.39127,88%
Austria16.90017.2732,21%
Turkey8.00015.56094,50%
Ecuador16.00015.000-6,25%
Georgia9.50014.54553,11%
New Zealand7.15614.462102,10%
Portugal21.00014.414-31,36%
Morocco13.45813.6951,76%
Table developed by ItalianBerry magazine with IBO data. 


It can be seen in the table that newer industries with low production levels are in the Top 10 in yield per hectare. These are recently started industries, which, unlike more mature industries, have not built their competitive strategy on the basis of production windows, but rather on the quality of their fruits.

Peru, the largest exporter of fresh blueberries in the world, also leads the ranking of yields per hectare , moving from fourth (2020) to first place. The country is in the process of substitution, increasing participation of the Ventura variety, which has come to replace blueberries Biloxi on Peruvian farms. In addition, large companies are evaluating and developing trials with club varieties.

Also noteworthy are New Zealand and Spain, home to companies developing the world's most modern varieties of blueberries . 

PRODUCTION OF BLUEBERRIES FRESH 

For the first time in history, the world is producing more than one million tons (MT) of fresh blueberries . 

China overtakes the United States in the ranking, becoming the world's second-largest producer of blueberries fresh, mainly for domestic consumption.

It should be clarified that while the data for the United States (3rd) and Peru (1st) are obtained from government and union sources, the IBO clarifies that the sources of information in China are less specific, so both the estimate of fresh production as well as the total production of blueberries may be lower than that reported by the Asian country. 

PRODUCTION OF FRESH BLUEBERRIES BY COUNTRY (THOUSANDS OF TONS)

Country20202021Change
annual
Peru162,75243,40+49,6%
China141,85208,20+46,8%
United States153,07177,09+15,7%
Chile138,78122,90-11,4%
Mexico62,3883,20+33,4%
Spain59,2967,88+14,5%
Poland52,1052,50+0,8%
Morocco34,2037,07+8,4%
Canada31,7233,39+5,3%
South Africa15,3324,00+56,6%
Table developed by Italian Berry with IBO data.


Peru remains the world's largest producer of fresh blueberries , increasing its production by nearly 50 percent between 2020 and 2021. 

The only country to decrease fresh production of blueberry is Chile, whose total has been reduced by 11.4 percent compared to 2020. This country has a mature industry, built in the late 1990s with the strategy of offering in the corresponding production window between From December to March. With the arrival of high-yielding varieties, Chile faces the challenge of modernizing its varietal offerings.

In addition, Chilean production has been severely affected by logistical problems, undermining the good reputation of the quality of its fruit, which has been altered by long transport times to its end market. In addition to this, much of its production areas have suffered from drought, and unpredictable temperatures due to climate change can delay or advance the harvest, losing the competitive advantage of the production window. 

In contrast, South Africa stands out as one of the areas where its strategy was based on selling quality with the goal of producing during the 52 weeks of the year. To achieve this goal, many growers started their business by investing in premium or high-yielding club varieties.

One reflection of this is the growth of more than 56 percent in South African manufacturing, a sector that ranks in the Top 10 in three of the rankings presented.

AREA CULTIVATED WITH BLUEBERRIES

The trend in the single crop area ranking where there was no shift in the positions of the producing countries blueberries between 2020 and 2021. Differences in production during 2021 were caused-in at least one-third-by the increased use of varieties with better production yields.

HECTARES CULTIVATED AT BLUEBERRIES BY COUNTRY

Country20202021Change
annual
China60.14769.036+14,78%
United States45.26948.139+6,34%
Chile18.18518.802+3,39%
Peru13.61316.850+23,78%
Canada11.52912.152+5,40%
Poland9.50011.000+15,79%
Mexico7.9009.100+15,19%
Ukraine4.3835.318+21,33%
Spain4.2104.570+8,55%
South Africa3.3223.500+5,36%
Table developed by Italian Berry with IBO data.


The other two-thirds are attributed to growth in planted areas. All countries in the ranking have increased planted hectares between 2020 and 2021, presenting the largest percentage changes in Peru, Ukraine, Poland and Mexico.

In total, there are 235,408.5 hectares planted with blueberry in the world, of which only 185,535.5 hectares are in production.

TOTAL PRODUCTION OF BLUEBERRIES

In the period 2021-2022, 1,789,590 tons of blueberries (for fresh and frozen consumption) were produced worldwide. 

TOTAL PRODUCTION OF BLUEBERRIES BY COUNTRY (THOUSANDS OF TONS)

Country20202021Change
annual
China295,36477,08+61,52%
United States282,68328,21+16,11%
Peru179,58261,45+45,59%
Chile195,76185,3-5,34%
Mexico63,0584,7+34,34%
Canada82,4280,42-2,43%
Spain66,776,36+14,48%
Poland54,155,5+2,59%
Morocco3639,03+8,42%
South Africa15,826+64,56%

Table developed by Blueberries Consulting with IBO data.

Peru surpassed Chile for the first time, which remained the third country with the highest total production of blueberries in the world in 2021. Peru's production of blueberries grew by 45.59% by 2020. While Chile decreased its production by 5.34 percent, given the increased difficulties with shipping and low labor force. 

China achieves a high growth rate (61.52 percent) over 2020, remaining the leader in the ranking and increasing its lead over the United States, a region where commercial cultivation of blueberry, a fruit native to North America, has begun.

Surprising is the growth of Mexico, up 34.34 percent from seventh to fifth place, and the ranking of Morocco and South Africa, still industries driven by the use of modern varieties of blueberries, and in the case of the first two, the proximity to its major markets.

By 2025, the sector is expected to exceed 3 million tons of blueberries produced worldwide.

However, it is possible that this projection will change given labor and resource shortages, as well as the effects of climate change, causes that mainly affect Latin America, a region that encompasses two of the world's largest exporters of the industry-Chile and Peru.

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

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