Sustainable growth goals for blueberries: Spain’s strategy in Huelva

Spain’s success in blueberry cultivation owes much to Huelva, where a combination of ideal climate, fertile soil, and careful plant selection has created the perfect conditions for growth. The region’s ability to apply techniques from strawberry and raspberry farming has also boosted the blueberry industry’s expansion and resilience.
Spain’s success in the blueberry market is due in part to its ability to distribute production across several months, avoiding sharp spikes. This approach, spanning over six months and aligning with the strawberry and raspberry campaigns in Huelva, has helped Spain penetrate key European markets like Germany, France, and the Netherlands. By ensuring a consistent market supply, Spain has also found success in markets already familiar with other berries.
In 2023, Huelva faced challenges due to a delayed onset of low temperatures and reduced water availability for irrigation, leading to smaller berries. Despite this, the region saw a slight increase in blueberry cultivation area. Freshuelva reported a 0.5% rise from 3,602 hectares in 2022 to 3,610 in 2023, solidifying blueberries as the second most planted berry in the province after strawberries.
For 2024, stakeholders are optimistic about production, aiming for climatic stability, maintaining market stability, increasing domestic consumption, and ensuring profitability. To remain competitive, the industry is focusing on producing high-quality, safe blueberries. Varied renewal efforts and investments in varietal development tailored to Huelva’s conditions are also underway, preparing the industry for future demands and environmental changes.
Challenges such as climate change, labor shortages, and production costs persist. However, the industry is addressing these with innovative strategies. For instance, on February 1, 2024, agricultural associations in Huelva, led by Freshuelva, advocated for hydraulic infrastructures to address water availability issues.
Domestically, increased blueberry consumption in Spain is attributed to marketing campaigns highlighting the fruit’s health benefits. To meet rising demand, the industry is focusing on maintaining quality, ensuring safety, and exploring new packaging options. While the EU and UK remain primary export destinations, efforts to diversify into markets like Brazil and Canada are ongoing, supported by collaboration between industry and government authorities.
Industry stakeholders are dedicated to ongoing improvement and adaptation in response to changing circumstances. Their focus is on enhancing campaign outcomes while ensuring the profitability of blueberry production. The goal is not only to address current challenges but also to position the industry for sustained growth and resilience in the dynamic global blueberry market.




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