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Huelva strawberry sales up 8%

Spain's strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

Spain’s strawberry capital, Huelva, has ended its latest season with production up 2% on last year to 294,650 tons.

The increase came despite an 8.7% decrease in the planted area.

Freshuelva, the association representing Huelva’s strawberry growers and exporters, also reports €395.15 million in sales for the 2015-16, a figure 8% above that for the previous season.

In a press release, it said data provided by its members showed the average price for strawberries saw a small increase of 1.5%.

Harvesting took place nearly a month earlier than in other years due to a very mild winter, which favoured the quality of the fruit in the early months and an optimal rate of ripening.

The two main export markets for strawberries from Huelva are Germany and France, which take 30% and 20% of its total exports respectively, followed by the UK with 13%.

Despite competing with local production from countries such as France, Italy, the UK, Germany and Belgium in European markets during May, the quality of Huelva’s strawberries allowed it remain competitive in these markets throughout that month.

The heat of early June brought about a gradual end to the season in the province’s different production zones as the high temperatures reduced fruit quality.

Raspberry sales see 24% upswing

Regarding other berries, Freshuelva reported raspberry production of 15,800 tons, a rise of 10% on the previous season, from a planted area that was 16% bigger at 1,815 ha. Sales were ​​24% higher at €120 million. About 95% of Huelva’s raspberries are exported.

The average price was up 8.5% overall on last season though in May and early June, due to increased availability and therefore competition from the start of local seasons in Huelva’s top two export markets for raspberries, the UK and Germany, prices dropped at the end of the season.

The blueberry and blackberry seasons were still underway at time of writing but in both cases production was up significantly on a year ago thanks to increases in the planted areas to 1,953 and 130 hectares respectively.

By the end of May, Huelva had exported 17,800 tons of blueberries and 650 tons of blackberries.

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US opens to Ecuador’s blackberries, raspberries

As of May 9, fresh Andean blackberries and raspberries can be imported from Ecuador into the continental United States under what is known as a systems approach.

As of May 9, fresh Andean blackberries and raspberries can be imported from Ecuador into the continental United States under what is known as a systems approach.

Designed to protect against the introduction of quarantine pests into the US, in this case the systems approach would include requirements for commercial consignments of the berries to come from a pest free production site within a certified low pest prevalence area for fruit flies, and pest monitoring and trapping.

The fruit – fresh Andean blackberry (Rubus glaucus Benth) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus Linnaeus) – would also have to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of Ecuador bearing an additional declaration stating that the consignment was produced and prepared for export in accordance with the requirements of the systems approach.

The three plant pests seen as having the highest pest risk potential in regard to the blackberry and raspberry fruit imports from Ecuador into the continental US are Anastrepha fraterculus (South American fruit fly), Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly), and Copitarsia decolora, a moth.

APHIS – the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – published the final rule allowing for the imports on April 8 and it will be effective as of May 9.

Ecuador’s berry exports

According to APHIS documents, in 2005, Ecuador had approximately 4,275 ha of Andean blackberry and raspberry crops with a potential annual production of 6,840 tons of fruit. Its exports of fresh Andean raspberries and blackberries averaged 13 tons per year for 2000-06, but by 2007 had reached 90 tons.

The document says the quantity of Andean blackberry and raspberry expected to be imported into the US from Ecuador yearly is less than 180 metric tons, though the amount per species is not yet known.

(This estimate is based on the fact that the sea shipping containers typically used for estimating the volume of fresh fruit shipments are 40 feet long and hold approximately 40,000 pounds or 18.18 metric tons of fruit. According to an estimate given to APHIS by Ecuador’s government, the maximum quantity of fresh Andean blackberry and raspberry that Ecuador is expected to export annually to the US is less than 10 shipping containers per year, or less than 181.8 tons.)

Economic impact on US berry growers

Before the rule’s approval, APHIS analysed data to check the move would not have a significant economic impact on small domestic growers in the US.

It said that over 2008-12, the US imported 37.22 million pounds of fresh raspberries and over 2011-13 imported 63 million pounds of fresh blackberries.

Comparing the volume level of these imports with the expected annual imports from Ecuador of less than 180 tons, the Ecuadorian import share would be less than 0.4% of the U.S. import share for these fruits and not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, it said.

In the 5 years to 2012, US raspberry and blackberry production for the fresh market averaged about 96 million pounds and 4 million pounds a year, respectively, for a total of about 100 million pounds, or about 45,372 tons.

(Because the Andean blackberry is more closely comparable to the loganberry (a blackberry-raspberry hybrid) than it is to the common blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), APHIS said it based its analysis on aggregate quantities of Rubus species commercially produced by the US.)

US raspberry production

According to APHIS, raspberries and blackberries are grown in at least 37 US states but just three – Oregon, Washington, and California – account for nearly all US commercial production of raspberries, blackberries and loganberries. The majority of red raspberry production occurs in California and Washington and Oregon grows more than 98% of US blackberries and nearly all of the nation’s commercial loganberries and boysenberries.

Raspberries rank third as the most popular berry in the US, coming after strawberries and blueberries.In 2013, California produced 94.1 million pounds of raspberries, valued at $239 million, and Washington, 68.1 million pounds valued at nearly $57.3 million (tables 2 and 3).

Over the five-year period, 2008-2012, the value of US raspberry production averaged $312 million. However, a significant portion of the US raspberry crop is processed; on average over the five-year period, about 56% (96 million pounds of 171 million pounds) were sold fresh.

The US is a net exporter of raspberry, and yet still imports a significant quantity, APHIS said.

Over the five years, 2008-2012, US raspberry imports averaged over 37 million pounds, supplying 48% of domestic fresh raspberry consumption

Mexico is the major source, supplying over 90% of US fresh raspberry and blackberry imports, followed by Guatemala with 4%, Canada with 2% and Chile with 1%.

US blackberry production

In 2013, 51 million pounds of blackberries were produced on 7,300 acres, of which 4 million pounds were sold as fresh berries and the remaining 47 million pounds sold as processed product, including frozen. The value of US blackberry production, 2008-2012, averaged $37 million dollars.


Analysis in Support of Certification that the Rule will not have a Significant Economic Impact on a Substantial Number of Small Entities
Importation of Fresh Andean Blackberry and Raspberry Fruit From Ecuador Into the Continental United States


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Report on the benefits of berry imports in US

Off-season berry purchases in the US are still small relative to in-season domestic production, indicating the potential for off-season supply has only been partially tapped.

What is the value to US consumers of the recent increase in the availability of fresh berries in winter? And how large would the consumer benefits be if these berries were available at in-season (spring) prices during the off-season (winter) in the United States?

These were questions examined in the report ‘Measuring the Impacts of Off-Season Berry Imports’ published last month by the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

“Findings suggest that additional supplies of these fruits from domestic off-season and foreign producers are especially valuable to consumers because they occur in winter months, when domestic fruit production is relatively low, consumers’ choices are fewer than during spring, and prices are high,” the report says.

“Findings also suggest that consumers would benefit from further reductions in seasonal production cycles. However, consumers receive larger benefits from making off-season berries available (having some berries rather than none) than from increasing supplies to the extent that off-season prices fall to in-season levels.”

The report says that the factor driving these consumer benefits is prices falling over the winter months—the difference between choke prices and market prices in the weeks in which Chile exports fruit. “On average, these declines range from 49% (blackberries) to 69% (strawberries).” (Chile exports strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries during fall and winter. Mexico has also become a major supplier of berry crops to the US during winter but the study used Chile’s export season as a benchmark.)

The report says consumers would reap ever bigger ‘welfare’ gains should winter prices fall the level of spring ones, “which might occur if other countries began supplying the U.S. market or if there are advances in technology (either through improvements in domestic storage or shipping).”

Off-season berry purchases in the US are still small relative to in-season domestic production, indicating the potential for off-season supply has only been partially tapped. “Further advances in plant breeding or storage technology might make off-season supply quantitatively similar to in-season supply. Additionally, technological changes might reduce the cost of interhemispheric shipping, eliminating seasonality in the quantity of produce available.” the report also says.

Other interesting information in the report includes:

  • Per capita availability of fresh fruit is increasing in the US, rising from 106.50 pounds in 1980 to 131.04 pounds in 2012.
  • The berry share of fresh fruit availability increased 3.75 times (to 9.50 pounds by 2012).
  • Until the early 2000s, berries were unavailable to most U.S. consumers outside of their short domestic production seasons.
  • In 2012, fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) accounted for 16% of the retail spend on fresh fruit.
  • Highest monthly shipment numbers occur in June for blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
  • Shipments of strawberries are highest in May each year.
  • Retail strawberry prices in late December have been twice that of prices in May in recent years.

source: ‘Measuring the Impacts of Off-Season Berry Imports‘ by Carlos Arnade and Fred Kuchler, Economic Research Report No. (ERR-197) 35 pp, October 2015

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Glasshouse blackberries deliver pleasing results for Driscoll’s

Berry company Driscoll’s says taking its successful variety Driscoll’s® Victoria™ to the glasshouse has produced blackberries with exceptional taste and outstanding fruit size.

Berry company Driscoll’s says taking its successful variety Driscoll’s® Victoria™ to the glasshouse has produced blackberries that have kicked off the Dutch season with exceptional taste and outstanding fruit size.

Driscoll’s agronomy consultant Fanny Pitsioudis said the variety is the result of a unique breeding programme focused on taste, look and shelf life.

“What we discovered is that this blackberry variety performs even better in the protected environment of a glasshouse, as the berries are bigger, sweeter and juicier than before,” she said.

Driscoll’s growers Jan and Alfons Diepstraten, of the growers association Best of Four, are reaping the benefits of the glass house success and gave a hat tip to Driscoll’s for its “high quality varieties and advanced production methods.”

“Last year we already experienced how huge and sweet these blackberries are, that is why we decided to expand our production from 2 hectare to 5 hectare,” they said, adding they will be picking blackberries until December

Driscoll's growers Jan & Alfons Diepstraten.JPGDriscoll’s growers Jan and Alfons Diepstraten of growers association Best of Four

source: Driscoll’s press release





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Infographic Highlights Benefits of Berries

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Which berry can help reduce cholesterol and which one is rich in folic acid? What are the seasons for the different berries and what are their calorie counts?

The answers to these questions and many other interesting details about berries are in a new shareable infographic from Huelva Inteligente.

Based in Huelva, the origin of 95% of Spain’s berry exports, the digital marketing experts have provided an easy-to-digest summary of the kind of information shared recently at the Fresh&Life berry symposium in Madrid.