Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Sebastian Ochoa:

“New blueberry plantation expansion in China is very huge”

The rate of new blueberry fields being established in China is "very, very huge" says Sebastian Ochoa, owner of Consultora Agrícola Santa María, a company that provides technical support in blueberry production, due diligence, and commercial consulting worldwide.

Speaking from Hunan Province in China, following consulting work in Europe, in Georgia and Austria and then Morocco, Ochoa says the rate of expansion in China is just mind boggling. "In China the blueberry market prices are very high. They are planting a lot of hectares, informally they have 80,000 hectares planted. The last time I was here was in August 2023, now again after visiting Hunand and Sichuan Provinces, I see new orchards everywhere, with thousands of plantings."

Sebastian Ochoa with his Chinese clients.

Ochoa works with three companies in Hunan Province. "I work with three companies who are completely Chinese. They are in the process to get new genetics. They are big and completely Chinese. I also visited growers in Sichuan Province. Blueberries here in China is crazy, they are planting new and old varieties. They have a lack of knowledge, they don't have access to much new varieties. They buy other varieties that they can plant without needing a licence. The business here is crazy. In this blueberry business it all finally goes down to good genetics to get quality fruit. Here in China the business is new, so they are planting the old varieties, but they will very quickly change to new varieties. When the offer starts to increase, the money is there, but it will go to better genetics."

He says despite this large and rapid expansion of blueberry plantings in China, he does not foresee the import market being affected. "All these new plantings does not impact the import market to China. The market is huge, very huge. It is also counter seasonal. They are in the Northern Hemisphere, with big exports coming from the Southern Hemisphere, the window is different. Here the market is huge, they can eat a lot of fruit."

Peru challenges seem to be over
Peru is Ochoa's home market where he advises many growers. "The problem last year was just in Peru, due to the El Niño weather pattern. There are some problems in Mexico this season too. In Peru, they are recovering. There are a lot of new orchards, new areas with new varieties, with producers changing a lot of Biloxi and Ventura. They will increase volumes. It will be close to a normal season in 2024. This is because the temperatures are going back to normal. The plants are going back to normal, it is different to last year."

European production
Just before China, Ochoa consulted and presented his blueberry expertise in Georgia and Austria, as well as Morocco. "The season has started in Spain, but not yet in Georgia and Austria. In Europe, the prices and demand is very high. In Georgia and Austria they are planting more and more new varieties, in Morocco too. When I visited Morocco, it was the peak of their season, with high prices paid for high quality fruit. The high quality fruit, from good varieties, is what the market pays for. If you want to be in the business and survive it is all about the variety, genetics and the management of it," states Ochoa.

He is looking forward to going home to South America after advising in China. Later this year he will then visit producers in South Africa again in August, at the start of the season in the North of the country.

For more information:
Sebastian Ochoa
Consultora Agrícola Santa María
Tel: +56 9 8209 9472
Email: [email protected]