According to EastFruit analysts, the current season may be the first in history when the volume of global trade in the most trending berry of the last two decades – fresh blueberries – may decline. Just 4-5 years ago, such a development of events was impossible to imagine, because new plantations of this expensive berry were being established all over the world and blueberries were winning new fans in all corners of the Globe.
What happened and why could global blueberry trade decline in the 2023/24 season? Maybe the demand for the berry has begun to decline? Market experts believe that no – the demand for blueberries remains high and is far from being exhausted. The main reason for the potential decline in global blueberry trade is the decline in blueberry production in Peru, the world leader in exports of this berry. Since Peru accounts for about 30% of all global blueberry exports, the decrease in production in this country could not but affect the world trade.
Earlier, EastFruit analysts described in detail the reasons for the drop in Paru’s production. In short, the climate change and the natural phenomenon El Niño are to blame, which led to abnormally high air temperatures in Peru during blueberry flowering, which, in turn, has negatively affected its yields.
“Wholesale blueberry prices around the world are now abnormally high. In many countries, blueberries doubled in price compared to 2022. Naturally, this also has a negative impact on blueberry consumption, since consumers are already accustomed to relatively stable prices for this berry almost all year round,” says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the investment centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
According to the expert, the decline in blueberry exports from Peru could support producers in other countries where production profitability has fallen annually. In particular, the decline in exports from Peru partially helped save the blueberry season in Ukraine, where prices for the berry rose sharply and unexpectedly in September 2023.
“I do not rule out that the new blueberry season in the Northern Hemisphere may also start with fairly high prices, which will allow suppliers of these berries from Mexico, Morocco and Spain to receive good dividends. But whether prices will remain relatively high until blueberries from Poland and Ukraine enter the market is still difficult to predict. However, such a scenario also seems very likely now,” Andriy Yarmak summarizes.
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