China and South Korea could enjoy before British Columbia blueberries

The 2016 British Columbia blueberry crops will not be as early as last year, but growers are hopeful that they will get export authorization earlier for China and South Korea.

BC Blueberry Board Executive Director Debbie Etsell told Fruit Portal that the 2015-16 winter was not like 2014-15, which will lead to a more chronologically normal season.

"So it doesn't look like it's three to four weeks earlier than we had in previous years, it still looks a little bit earlier, maybe a week, but a lot of things can happen in April and May."He said.

«There have been no severe frosts or ice storms. It's been a pretty even winter with a few good cold days and we've been starting to get some good warm days now. It looks good so far."Pointed.

While the USA remains Canada's main blueberry export market, Etsell believes that there is more room for growth in the country too, the main question on everyone's mind is, when the inspectors from China and South Korea will set a date for visit the orchards?

Both countries opened access and approved orchards registered late in the agreement last year, which meant that only small volumes went to China, while South Korea received nothing.

“We are hopeful [they will visit in] July for China and South Korea – we are waiting to see that”.

Etsell is confident that the process will be timely with South Korea, but 100% is not safe from China. When asked about the expected volumes that could be sent to the latter, he said it is too early to say.

"I don't think it's going to be very big – last year it was very small, it's going to be bigger than last year, but how much bigger, we're not sure at this point.".

"The Pacific Northwest is growing very quickly in production and we are all located pretty close to each other and they all come around the same time, so I think everyone is happy to see that there is demand from China and that Canada has potential for the Canadian product to come out ».

He added that Japan is the second largest blueberry export market in the province, while there have also been new market opportunities in Europe, the Middle East and India.

And although British Columbia produces the last crop in North America, he noted that a public-private partnership in breeding with the government and other groups of berries (strawberries or strawberries and raspberries) has had the objective of obtaining varieties that can be grown later.

“We have been very comfortable in BC because we have been the last of the growers in North America to ship out, but there are other strong growing areas and it will be interesting to see how this system works over the years”.

"It depends on what the weather is like, but those countries could be Argentina, Mexico and there are some areas like Australia, which are trying to go to 52 weeks per year under tunnel and pot production"He said.

Source: Fruit Portal

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