Date: December 12, 2011
Reporting From: Talca, Chile
We’ve spent a wonderful weekend at the farm in Chile watching the harvest of our latest blueberry crop. As I write this, there are 52-workers walking up and down the rows of trees picking fruit… and it’s quite an interesting business.
Blueberry trees mature and hit their full production after around 7-years, at which point a single acre can yield around 2,500 kilograms. We have over 15-acres and are expecting a harvest of around 40,000 kilos– this is by far our smallest crop, but it’s the first one up for harvest.
The global blueberry price is fairly strong at the moment; like any agricultural commodity, it rises and falls based on supply and demand. Chile’s export-quality blueberries are fetching around $4 per kilogram right now, which is a very solid price given what goes in to the cultivation.
But there’s a unique opportunity in the market.
Across the entire world, blueberry harvests take place year-round. At this time of year, Chilean farms are harvesting. At other times of the year, North American farms are harvesting. Etc.
But there are two ‘windows’ during the year in which global blueberry production is minimal. Weather patters and season changes around the world are such that late September and late March are dead zones for blueberry production, and during these windows, the wholesale blueberry price skyrockets to $12 per kilogram.
Obviously it would be great to get three-times the money for doing the same amount of work… and it turns out that some exceptionally innovative friends of mine have figured out a way to do this.
As I’ve written before, Chile’s long and slender shape is the equivalent of stretching across Mexico’s central Baja peninsula all the way to southeastern Alaska. You get every climate zone imaginable except for tropical heat.
As such, there are a few areas within Chile whose climates are ideally suited for blueberry production during these peak-price windows. The only problem is that the soil in these regions is terrible.
My friends are currently testing a solution in which soil and seedlings from our region of Chile (where blueberries thrive) are transported to these other areas of the country that have ideal climates to harvest during these peak-price windows.
So far the tests are showing very solid results, and we’re starting discussions to raise some money around the idea, provide the appropriate soil and other resources, and ultimately expand the operations in scale.
I’m telling you this because, with so much doom and gloom in the world, it goes to show that there are unique and compelling opportunities where you least expect.
Yes, the financial system is completely fractured and the prospects of war seem to be rising with each passing day; yes, politicians and central bankers around the world are hitting the accelerator as they drive off the cliff. But properly applied, human ingenuity is the most powerful force on the planet.
The world is -not- coming to an end, and opportunities still abound. Mongolia, where I recently put boots on the ground just seven weeks ago, is one of the most exciting frontiers on the planet. The prospects of making an incredible fortune there are very real.
In Singapore, where a close friend of mine owns one of the city-state’s finest night clubs, North American cocktail waitresses are getting paid six-figures… simply because they understand lavish customer service much more than their Asian counterparts.
In Japan, my friend is making a killing from selling US products to Japanese consumers, essentially capitalizing on the Japanese yen’s completely ridiculous overvaluation in the foreign exchange market.
And here in Chile, we have now come across a compelling way to generate three times the revenue on an agricultural commodity we’re already producing.
The world is certainly changing and the opportunities are changing with it. But they’re still out there… it just takes a creative mind that’s willing to see them.