Industry will seek deeper understanding of dynamics of production and market demand

The International Blueberry Organization (IBO) will hold its second annual South American Blueberry Convention at the Monticello Conference Centre in San Francisco de Mostazal, Chile, on 18 April, 2023.

South American Blueberry Convention

A panel discussion from last year’s South American Blueberry Convention

The event, sponsored by ProArandanos from Peru, ABC from Argentina, Upefruy from Uruguay and Aneberries from Mexico, seeks to contribute to collaboration and innovation in the face of the challenges of a complex market but one full of opportunities and learnings.

“The supply of blueberries from the South American region and Mexico dominates the market between October and April, so it is essential to understand the production dynamics and jointly seek to increase demand,” said Andrés Armstrong, executive director of the Blueberry Committee of Chile, Asoex.

The convention will challenge the industry to focus on high quality, new varieties and logistics issues in the production, export and global consumption of the fruit, through interesting conversation panels, exhibitions and presentations by relevant national and international players. One of the confirmed panellists is University of Chile agronomist Raúl Olivares, who has been advising on blueberry cultivation for 28 years, and who will speak about genetic turnover in blueberries: project validation of new varieties for Chile.

“The objective is to address the dynamics that the global development of new blueberry varieties has had in recent years, making it possible to expand the geography of their cultivation and improve the quality of the product at the consumer level,” said Olivares, who was formerly production manager in Chile for Driscoll’s and currently works as a private consultant as well as supporting the Blueberry Committee in its New Varieties Validation project.

Also speaking is Ricardo Barckhahn, managing director of Cool Carriers Chile, who will analyse the logistics situation of the sector.

With more than 30 years of experience in Chile’s maritime-port industry, Barckhahn will present lessons learned with Blueberries Express, a charter service that Chilean blueberry exporters implemented last year for the US market, focused on fresh fruit.

“With the first season of relevant experience, we moved a large volume of blueberries and we want to continue to be present,” said Barckhahn.

“We believe that we are an important solution for the industry and we can develop many other synergies between the blueberry industry and us as transport service providers.

“It is the instance where we can transparently analyse the pros and cons of what is happening in the logistics chain, in the supply chain, and see how all the parties involved can collaborate to move this issue forward.”