Slow start for South African berry export season

Despite a challenging start to the season, South African blueberry exporters are navigating the situation with resilience and optimism. They remain on course to meet their target of exporting 25,000 tonnes this season, even though they initially faced production setbacks. The industry has observed robust market conditions, which have prompted a shift from airfreight to sea exports, although airfreight volumes remain higher than usual due to market shortages.
Brent Walsh, CEO of Berries ZA, expressed confidence in their ability to achieve the projected 25,000-tonne export goal. This confidence stems from the healthy condition of South African blueberry orchards, despite the delayed peak harvest caused by prolonged cold and wet weather in the Western Cape. The berries are ripening beautifully on the bushes, promising a strong yield.
The early airfreight exports have predominantly targeted Middle Eastern markets, but as the season progresses, there are expectations of redirecting more volume to traditional markets in the UK and European Union. South Africa is actively pursuing increased market access in East Asia, particularly in China and India, where demand for South African blueberries has been confirmed.
Walsh also revealed that South African stonefruit is next in line for access to the Chinese market, and this development could expedite the evaluation process for blueberries. In addition to these efforts, Berries ZA is exploring opportunities to gain market access in South Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, further expanding the global reach of South African blueberries.




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