Peruvian blueberry and avocado exports to China increased by more than 70 per cent in 2021, as exporters were able to take advantage of lower shipments from Chile due to water and climate challenges, according to a report from Fresh Fruit Peru.

China imported US$443m of Peruvian fruits, vegetables and grains last year, of which blueberries, grapes and avocados, together accounted for 91 per cent of shipments. Fresh Fruit Peru said the poorly diversified basket of products was limiting Peru's growth in this market.

China imported 31,679 tonnes of fresh blueberries worth US$229m last year, an increase of 26 per cent in volume and 24 per cent in value compared to 2020.

Peru accounted for 24,921 tonnes of this, with a corresponding value of US$181m, representing a rise of 71 per cent and 75 per cent on the previous year. Peru’s share of blueberry exports to this market climbed 21 per cent to 79 per cent, while Chile’s share fell from 42 per cent in 2020 to 20 per cent in 2021.

The average price paid for Peruvian blueberries in China was US$7.25 per kg, an increase of 2 per cent on 2020. Average price levels of Chilean blueberries fell 7 per cent to US$7.12 per kg.

Peru managed to increase its participation in the Chinese market because Chile opted to prioritise the US market in light of its lower volume. Demand also increased, driven by the economic recovery.

A lower Chilean avocado production volume also gave Peru more space in the Chinese market last year.

Avocado imports in China totalled 40,797 tonnes worth US$106m in 2021, up 48 per cent in volume and 49 per cent in value compared to the previous year.

Peru accounted for 26,874 tonnes worth US$68m, representing volume and value growth of 71 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.

Peru was the main avocado supplier to China last year, with a market share of 66 per cent, an increase of 9 per cent on 2020. Mexico was second with 18 per cent, displacing Chile who came third with 10 per cent.

Average prices in the Asian market were US$2.61 per kg, similar to the previous year. Peruvian avocados were priced at US$2.53 per kg, 6 per cent more than in 2020.

Chile achieved the best prices, averaging US$3.28 per kg, 7 per cent more than in 2020. Mexican avocados averaged US$2.52 per kg, 1 per cent down on the previous year.

As in the case of blueberries, Peru was able to increase its supply without affecting prices, because of Chile’s ongoing production problems due to water scarcity.