The prospect of a historical downturn in the global blueberry trade is looming

EastFruit analysts have raised the possibility that the current season could witness an unprecedented historical decline in global trade of fresh blueberries, a berry that has been the trendsetter in the last two decades. Just a few years ago, such a scenario seemed unthinkable, as blueberry plantations were flourishing worldwide, and the fruit was gaining popularity across the globe.
So, what has led to the potential decline in the global blueberry trade for the 2023/24 season? Is it due to a drop in consumer demand for this beloved berry? Market experts contend that this is not the case; the demand for blueberries remains robust and far from waning. Instead, the primary factor behind the potential trade decline is the decrease in blueberry production in Peru, the global leader in blueberry exports. Given that Peru accounts for approximately 30% of all worldwide blueberry exports, any decrease in its production would inevitably impact the global trade.
EastFruit analysts previously outlined the reasons behind Peru’s production decline, attributing it to climate change and the El Niño phenomenon, which resulted in unusually high temperatures during blueberry flowering, negatively impacting yields.
Andriy Yarmak, an economist at the investment center of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), notes, “Wholesale blueberry prices worldwide are currently unusually high. In many countries, blueberry prices have doubled compared to 2022. Naturally, this has had an adverse effect on blueberry consumption, as consumers have grown accustomed to relatively stable prices for this fruit throughout the year.”According to Yarmak, the reduction in blueberry exports from Peru may offer support to producers in other countries where profitability has been diminishing annually. Notably, the decrease in exports from Peru played a role in bolstering the blueberry season in Ukraine, where prices for the berry surged unexpectedly in September 2023.
Yarmak also suggests that the new blueberry season in the Northern Hemisphere may commence with relatively high prices, benefiting blueberry suppliers from Mexico, Morocco, and Spain, who could potentially reap significant profits. The sustainability of these high prices until blueberries from Poland and Ukraine enter the market remains uncertain, but such a scenario appears increasingly likely.




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