Freezes in major Argentina growing areas may lead to tight blueberry supplies and high prices early in the season, but supplies and prices should return to their usual levels as the season progresses, U.S. importers say.
In August, the Argentinean Blueberry Committee, Buenos Aires, predicted growers would export 16,000 tons of blueberries this season, up from 15,000 tons last year. By early September, however, it revised the estimate downward to 14900 tons.
About 63% of Argentina’s blueberry exports should end up in the U.S., with roughly 30% destined for Europe and the United Kingdom, committee manager Inez Pelaez said.
Teddy Koukoulis, director of blueberry operations for Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., was in Argentina in late August and saw a farm with no freeze protection in the Tucuman region that suffered up to 40% crop damage. “The first pick will suffer,” he said. “That’s where the damage is.”
The grower should be able to continue to pick through the season and salvage some of his crop, he said. But some farms with no freeze protection lost buds, flowers and berries. “They’re not going to be able to do anything,” Koukoulis said
Fuente The Packer