JOHANNESBURG - Data compiled by the South African Berry Producers Association (SABPA) reveals that South Africa’s blueberry production is expected to reach a record high of 17 000 tons this year, up from 11 300 tons in 2018.
This will mean an exponential increase in jobs created from 1 000 in 2014 to 8 000 in 2019. Furthermore, by 2023, we expect production to reach 50 000 tons which will translate into 14 000 jobs.
At present, approximately 70 percent of blueberries produced locally are destined for export markets. The value of blueberry exports grew from R133 million in 2013 to R1.058 billion in 2018.
Currently, South Africa does not have access to key markets like China and South Korea at a time when blueberry imports are growing phenomenally in these markets.
In China, for example, blueberry imports grew from 2 400 tons in 2013 to more than 12 000 tons by 2017.