Steta takes on new role as industry faces challenges including varietal conversion, climate change volatile market and trade issues.

The International Blueberry Organisation (IBO) has appointed Mario Steta as its new chairman. Steta, who is operations director for Driscoll´s in EMEA and formerly served as president of Mexican berry association Aneberries, brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role.

Mario Steta

Mario Steta

“The experience I’ve gained working for one of the leading berry companies makes me feel ready to embrace this role and the significant opportunities and challenges that face the global blueberry industry,” Steta said.

“Under the leadership of the outgoing president, Peter McPherson, the IBO has established a strong spirit of industry collaboration, strongly focused on furthering the development and promotion of blueberries worldwide.”

McPherson, formerly the general manager of Australian company Costa Group’s berry business, held the IBO President’s position for eight years. His achievements include successfully hosting the IBO Summit in Australia in 2015, strengthening the organisation by incorporating new member countries including Poland, South Africa, and Morocco, positioning blueberries as a global leader in the fresh produce industry, and developing annual reports focused on providing comprehensive data and insights on global blueberry production.

“I look forward to Mario’s leadership of the IBO and am sure he will do a great job,” McPherson said. “We are going through challenging times in the industry, such as the impact of the El Niño phenomenon on production in Peru this season, the war between Russia and Ukraine, and the increase in transportation and input costs because of the global economic recession.

“There are also many opportunities, including room for further growth, but the industry must focus on quality - that is the key to future success. Mario’s experience at the helm of a company that has stood out in recent years for the development and introduction of new and better varieties is undoubtedly an example for the industry to follow. If he can pass on that knowledge to our members, I am sure that the future will be bright and responsible.”

The expansion of supply and new production areas, coupled with transparency in information and the positioning of this superfood, are fundamental pillars of the IBO’s strategy.

Currently, the IBO comprises 14 member countries, representing over 90 per cent of the world’s fresh blueberry production. It also includes 60 associated companies, encompassing exporters and industry suppliers.

“One of my key challenges will be to further enhance the collaborative efforts of the IBO, striving to integrate all stakeholders in the industry into our organisation, and learn from and interact with other members of the global produce sector. We firmly believe that unity and transparency are essential for successfully navigating the dynamic and evolving challenges of this industry,” Steta concluded.