Asoex has described the 2019/20 Chilean blueberry season, which is officially winding to a close, as “very special in terms of the challenges that had to be faced during its development.”
Estimates made at the beginning of the season pegged exports of regular blueberries to reach 115,000 tonnes, a 4 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
However, now that the season is complete, the official figures released by the association indicate shipments were down by 1.5 per cent, with 109,291 tonnes exported to date.
In a statement linked to the seasonal report, the association said the drop was not unexpected, as the outbreak of coronavirus continues to prove challenging.
"Due to the Coronavirus in China, the market in that country was paralysed after the Chinese New Year for at least three weeks, affecting a portion of containers arrived on those days.”
The report also highlighted high temperatures over the closing weeks of the season as a reason for a drop in export volumes.
North America remained a strong market for Chilean blueberry exports, despite an 11 per cent decrease in shipments, with the region taking 52 per cent of the seasonal volume.
Exports to Europe increased by 8 per cent, to 32 per cent of overall volume, while exports to Asia grew strongly (up 20 per cent) to take 15 per cent.
Organic blueberry shipments continued to grow, with a record 15,470 tonnes exported to date, representing a 16 per cent increase on the previous year.
North America represented the largest market for organic blues, taking 77 per cent of total volume, while the remaining 23 per cent was exported to Europe.