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Berry bonanza: SA blueberry exports soared in 2020 despite impact of Covid-19

24 March 2021 8:32 PM
Tags:
Farming
Agriculture
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
fruit
blueberries
SA Berry Producers Association
SABPA
COVID-19
blueberry exports
Justin Mudge
BerriesZA
fruit exports

In recognition of the industry’s growing global impact, the national body's been rebranded says BerriesZA chair Justin Mudge.

Blueberries have long now been hailed as a superfood.

But did you know that South African producers are making their mark internationally?

ALSO READ: Good news for local citrus industry: Bumper season expected for US exports

Exports increased by more than 27% in 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19.

They've grown from less than 1,800 tons in 2015 to over 15,000 tons says Justin Mudge, chairperson of BerriesZA.

Image: Beth Thomas on Pixabay

The South African Berry Producers Association (Sabpa) has been re-launched as BerriesZA "in recognition of the industry's growing strength on the world stage".

Bruce Whitfield interviews Mudge on The Money Show.

We've seen continued investment throughout this sector... adoption from improved plant material, steady improvements in yields... It's an ongoing story.

Justin Mudge, Chairperson - Berries ZA

While berries are traditionally grown in the Western Cape (almost 60%), there has been growth in Limpopo as well.

Mudge believes there is also untapped potential in the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

It's a very labour-intensive process... A cluster of berries doesn't ripen uniformly - they ripen individually. Every single berry is hand-picked.

Justin Mudge, Chairperson - Berries ZA

There are close to ten job opportunities per hectare... We're somewhere north of 3,000 hectares and we would like to see that grow in the future.

Justin Mudge, Chairperson - Berries ZA

At present blueberries form a small percentage of South Africa's fruit exports, but in terms of value it is significant.

There is a massive opportunity to be exploited, he says.

Just in rough numbers, 10,000 hectares would yield 100,000 tons and that's R10 billion's worth of foreign currency.

Justin Mudge, Chairperson - Berries ZA

Listen to the interview in detail below:




24 March 2021 8:32 PM
Tags:
Farming
Agriculture
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
fruit
blueberries
SA Berry Producers Association
SABPA
COVID-19
blueberry exports
Justin Mudge
BerriesZA
fruit exports

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