26 Oct 2023

South Africa's blueberry boom: quality, diversity, and global market strategies


In recent years, the blueberry industry in South Africa has experienced considerable growth, fuelled by several key factors. Although the number of hectares dedicated to cultivation has remained largely stable, significant changes within the industry, such as the introduction of new varieties and improvements in production practices, have contributed to a steady increase in blueberry yield and quality.

Since 2020, the area allocated to blueberry cultivation in South Africa has fluctuated around 3,000 hectares. However, despite this stability in terms of area, production has grown significantly. In 2020, about 20,000 tonnes of blueberries were produced, and forecasts for the current season indicate a yield of over 30,000 tonnes.

The South African blueberry industry has successfully embraced new varieties, leading to greater diversification and higher quality blueberries. These changes are aligned with consumer preferences on a global scale and have enabled South African producers to adapt to the specific needs of the market.

Despite its relative youth compared to other similar industries worldwide, the blueberry industry in South Africa has made considerable progress in production methods and techniques. Over the past five years, producers have optimised processes, resulting in blueberries of significantly higher quality.

However, 2022 presented unique challenges. A labour strike in South African ports had a significant impact on the industry's exports, lasting two weeks and significantly affecting the sustainability of many industry players.

Read the full article: IBO

Images: IBO, Blueberries Consulting

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