South African blueberry sector eyes China

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South African blueberry sector eyes China

Shortly after confirming admission for fresh South African avocados, the South African blueberry sector is eager to also gain access to the coveted Chinese market.

After a speedy admission for pears and avocados, with less than two years elapsed between both, the industry hopes for the same rapidity as blueberries are to be considered next.

Related articles: South African avocados coming to China

Blueberries are a relatively new crop for South African growers, and many newer varieties that are propagated can be grown in the milder, sub-tropical regions along the country’s coast.

Additionally, the coast and lower altitude regions in South Africa have shown great promise, as their geographical conditions produce good fruit quality and size, with excellent firmness and high yields, according to Berries for Africa, a family owned business that supplies a wide array of berries.

The Western Cape accounts for roughly 60% of total production in South Africa, followed by Limpopo and the North West. Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga also produce small volumes.

About 25% of production takes place in open fields, while 61% is produced under shade nets and 14% in tunnels. It is a high-value crop, so most of it is produced under protection to ensure high volumes of excellent quality fruit.

At least 70% of the country’s crop is exported, with the UK and Europe as the major destination markets. 

Small volumes are also directed towards Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

As for varieties, the main cultivars planted are Rabbiteye cultivars, Northern Highbush and Southern Highbush.

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