FL Blueberries Struggle Against Imports
The 2021 Florida Blueberry crop is behind in production at the start of the season, but estimates are that the late surge will still result in a good year for the crop. The blueberry season in Florida starts around the beginning of February throughout the state. While most of central and south Florida are currently in production, north Florida blueberries won't be in full swing for another few weeks. Florida is home to over 900 Blueberry farms and has a yearly economic impact of almost $300 million.
A late start to the growing season isn't the only thing impacting the Florida blueberry industry, a flood of cheaper blueberries from Mexico, Chile, and Peru have been flooding the state for some time now. In the past 5 years along, the price per pound has dropped around $5 due to the flooding of the market. And in the past 10 years, imports have risen over 2000%.
Earlier this year, members of the American Blueberry Growers Alliance testified before the U.S. International Trade Commission to discuss the growing impact of importing blueberries, which is around 75% of the market.
While the import crisis continues, there are current projects trying to figuring out how to fight the high import levels from Mexico and other countries as well as encouraging consumers to purchase "American Grow" blueberries throughout the United States.