"This is the largest investment in blueberries that this country will have," said the mayor of Alcácer do Sal, Vítor Proença, to the Lusa agency.

According to the mayor, currently, blueberry production in Portugal "is around 220 to 250 tons" and will increase to "an average of nine thousand tons per year", most for export, when the production of the new unit reaches its peak.

The promoter of the project is Carsol Fruit Portugal, a company owned by Filipe de Botton e Carrasco (Chile), which will invest €54 million in the fields already acquired, as well as in plantations and factory buildings for cold and packaging.

The project includes the acquisition and management of the former Fábrica da Torrinha," in Montalvo, and an old rice husking plant belonging to Herdade da Comporta, which "was deactivated in the early 1990s.

"The factory will be redeveloped and integrate the packaging area and thewhole cold part", said Vítor Proença, predicting that the new production unit could create "around 200 fixed jobs" and, at the peak of the blueberry harvest in full production, "reach 2,500".

The mayor said that the promoters have already started the licensing process and that currently "several infrastructures are being installed" for the future production unit and estimated that "2020 will be a year of project start-up".

If everything goes well, first production will be by the end of the first half of 2020.

According to the municipality, by 2022, the plantation area will be 400 hectares, and will enter into full production in 2025.