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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

South African blueberries a niche product, but growing

Compared to the country's bigger commodities such as citrus, South African blueberries make up a small part of the country's agricultural portfolio. But willing investors and ambitious marketers are carving out lucrative niches for South African berries in Europe and at home.“It is now easier to get funding,” said Ryan Davis of United Exports (...) The issue is getting the right mix of know-how and planning to get things going. Fortunately for United Exports, the company has a head start on growing berries. (...) United Exports is in the second year of a five-year plan to roll out significant plantings of blueberry production that will span the northern part of the country, curve around the eastern part and swing back down the Southern Cape. Already some of the bushes it has planted are nearing peak production. Part of the reason for more plantings is that there are large windows of opportunity in the European market which we aim to exploit. Between weeks 37 and 47 are when Davis believes berry levels in Europe are sufficiently low that South African shipments can get good returns there.