Demand drives growing blueberry production in China

The blueberry industry has experienced notable growth in China, expanding its presence from 10 to 27 administrative regions and increasing the cultivation area from 10 to 77.000 hectares. This expansion has resulted in an average production of 525.000 tons of blueberries, with provinces such as Guizhou, Liaoning, Shandong, Sichuan and Yunnan leading the cultivation effort. This boom is largely due to a 40% annual increase in demand for blueberries over the past five years, a significantly higher growth rate compared to other fruits.

Despite this growth in demand, per capita consumption of blueberries in China, which stands at 0,26 kilograms, is still much lower than that of Western countries such as the United States, where per capita consumption reached 2,63 kilograms. in 2022. According to estimates, the annual consumption of blueberries in China is close to one million tons, indicating that there is ample room for growth, especially in third- and fourth-tier cities.

China's blueberry industry is still experiencing an "era of big profits." For example, in Yunnan Province, the production value in the second year of cultivation can reach 150.000 yuan per hectare, with net income of 70.000 to 80.000 yuan after deducting production costs. This lucrative potential has attracted numerous companies to the sector, including Shenzhen Noposion Crop Science Co. Ltd., which has expanded its cultivation area to 1.333 hectares.

A major challenge for the sector is the increase in labor costs, which have tripled since 2013. According to producers, labor costs in China are lower than in Western countries, but the expansion of plantation areas and the short harvest period pose difficulties in finding qualified workers. Manual harvesting is essential to preserve the quality of blueberries destined for the fresh market.

Another challenge is competition from blueberry varieties. Most commercially grown varieties in China are of foreign origin, posing challenges for local varieties in terms of quality and diversity.

As more foreign varieties enter the Chinese market, there is a risk that local varieties will lose popularity among consumers, despite their lower prices.

In summary, the blueberry industry in China faces a promising future with important challenges. Continued consumer demand, potential for market expansion, and challenges related to labor costs and varietal competition paint a complex but potentially lucrative picture for China's blueberry growers and exporters.

Source
freshplaza

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