China has opened its doors to lemons – and blueberries are next. According to the head of the Association of Blueberry Producers of Tucumán (Apratuc), Francisco Estrada, the association’s goal is to achieve the definite opening of new markets, especially of China.
The association is waiting for the approval of the phytosanitary protocol from China to add this destination to their export plans. “We’ve already been visited by representatives that saw our production, so we could be making regular exports in 2018,” he said.
“The export volume will depend on the price they pay. If the value is attractive, shipments will be higher. Due to logistics, as the route to China is long and complex, its impossible to transport all fruit varieties,” he emphasized.
In 2016, production reached about 8,500 tons, nearly 5,500 tons of which were exported, according to official data. The United States accounted for 74% of shipments; England for 14%; the European continent for 10%, and the rest of the world for 2%.
“The idea is to try to open new markets to place the fruit, in the face of strong competition from Peru (…) That country has a competitive structure in costs, and that adds pressure on us. Their wages account for 25% of their costs, including social charges and assets, while our wages account for 70% of our costs,” he concluded.