Peru: Aqua-4D and the blueberry boom
When you think of a Peruvian fruit, it’s probably avocados which spring to mind, and indeed Peru is the largest exporter of the green wonderfruit to Europe. But it’s an unlikely fruit of a different colour which has seen an exponential growth in recent years: the blueberry.
Using R&D and the latest technologies, Peru has witnessed a remarkable blueberry boom in production and export, with 500% export growth over 5 years. The country is now the world’s third largest exporter and exports reached $361 million in 2017 – not bad considering Peru’s blueberry market was practically non-existent as recent as 2012. And this is just the beginning: the country’s industry spokesperson expects exports to double to 40,000 metric tonnes in 2018.
The boom was helped along the way by the 2016 signing of a phytosanitary protocol for supplying fresh fruit to China, paving the way for 4000 tonnes to make their way from Peru to China in 2017 alone, generating $34 million along the way.
With such a fast-growing industry, it’s no surprise that there’s a huge call for technologies which can help increase yields without the use of chemicals and for a quick ROI (return on investment). Aqua-4D has been diligently working with suppliers all the way through the blueberry boom, helping with advice and consultancy based on success stories from the company’s other projects around the world, including almonds in California, melons in Brazil and olives in Israel. As it’s such a new industry, Aqua-4D has helped fill the knowledge gap and offered advice based on success stories in other locations, such as a berry grower in Michoacán in Mexico.
An international team from Aqua-4D convened in Peru in June 2018, including sales and technical managers from the Switzerland HQ, as well as technical engineers and agronomists from its Brazil, Central American and South American offices. Together they visited large blueberry producers in () as well as avocado and grape growers, to understand the specific needs of growers in the Peru context and share best practices using the Aqua-4D system based on successful validation trials in more than 40 countries.
“Bringing skilled agronomists and sales managers together in Peru to brainstorm about global agro issues and challenges is key to our development as a provider of solutions for sustainable agriculture,” said Patrick Rosat, CCO of Aqua-4D.
In Latin America as elsewhere, Aqua-4D puts emphasis on service and consultancy, leveraging our team of expert engineers and agronomists who liaise closely with our customers. Hence the point of sale is just the beginning of a long process, with engineers then on hand to assist with installation, track progress with scientific validations, advise irrigation management and how to improve production hand-in-hand with the Aqua-4D system.
Apart from the innovative technology itself, this consultancy aspect is really what sets Aqua-4D apart, according to Javier Meyer, Head of Marketing: “We sell more than just a product – it’s a fully integrated service, and we are replicating this model all around the world. Our aim is to bring more mobility to the company and to keep innovating.”