The El Niño weather phenomenon is having a major impact on Peru’s blueberry export campaign. Figures from consultancy Fresh Fruit Peru show shipments to mid-September stood at 40,527 tons, just half of the total for the same point last year.
In week 36 (4-10 September), exports to Europe totalled 1,623 tons, 66 per cent less than in the same week of 2022. Shipments to the US for that week were down 64 per cent at 3,513 tons, and shipments to Asia registered a drop of 41 per cent to 684 tons.
Luis Miguel Vegas, general manager of industry association Proarándanos, said the fall in production is due to the higher temperatures resulting from the El Niño phenomenon. He warned that early forecasts of a 10-15 per cent drop in volume for the season running from May 2023 to April 2024 will probably have to be revised downward.
With European production winding down, the result is a shortage of fruit on the market and rising prices worldwide. Rivals Argentina and South Africa stand to gain from the lower availability of Peruvian blueberries.