Berries make up about 2% of the world’s fruit production and encompass a variety of fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants and blackberries.
United States is the main producer (with approximately 90% of the world production), while in the southern hemisphere the main producers are Chile, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Among the principal berry consumers are the United States and some European countries, making these the main destination of the export of these fruits. Exports are also expanding to other areas, such as Canada and the Middle East.
The United States generally starts running out of stock around September, giving the southern hemisphere the best window to export volumes of Berries at the best price.
In Argentina, the harvest season begins in late September with a production peak in October (when the producers offer the best export prices). After that the volume begins to decline monthly until the last harvest in February. In the case of Chile, November and December show the largest export volumes.
Production in Argentina
In Argentina there are three cultivated regions: NOA, in the provinces of Salta, Catamarca, and mainly, in Tucuman; NEA, concentrated in the eastern province of Entre Rios and Corrientes; and CENTER in the provinces of Cordoba and Buenos Aires.
CAPAB is the entity that brings together producers of blueberries and other types of Berries in this Argentina. There are approximately 300 main producers including among those, Tecnovital, Agroberries, Integrity, Extraberries, Dolphin South Atlantic, North Bay Argentina, Berries del Plata, Blueberries, SunBelle, Artesa, SRI Argentina and NiceBerry.
For this season, Argentina expected a total production growth of 15% to 20%, reflected also in the same level of growth level for exports. However, due to lower product demand from the United States, market growth was only 5% in comparison to 2010.
However, according to LAN CARGO Argentina, exports of Berries are estimated to end the year with an increase of 20% versus 2010, as a result of the 4600 total tons transported.
From Tucuman, one of the most important production centers in the country, 2000 tons were transported on 50 B767 cargo flights, thus surpassing the projection from this origin (last year 27 freighters were placed and 35 expected in 2011). Furthermore destinations were diversified; Miami became a target destination, seven flights to Los Angeles were operated, as well as a flight to Barbados (BGI), with a final destination in Europe.
Meanwhile, from Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires, 2200 tons were exported (down 15% versus 2010) from the production centers of Concordia, Entre Rios and Buenos Aires.
As for the main export destinations, total market sales increased for the markets of Europe, Asia and Canada, in comparison to what was originally projected. On the other hand, the U.S., historically with 75% of market sales, ended with 68% because of the decreased market prices and demand. Diversification was not as high in terms of tons transported by LAN CARGO, since 95% of exports were sent to the United States, mainly Miami.
Given that the production and export began early in Tucuman, producers were favored by good market prices. Not so well from the center and east, where a marked decrease was seen in the prices that went up only at the peak of demand, that is, the dates close to the Thanksgiving holiday.