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Lots of potential for early Georgian blueberries

What started as a project from the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture to encourage farmers to start growing High bush blueberries back in 2005/2006, has grown into a very promising business prospect for the 3 companies who purchased the orchards when the government put them up for sale in 2016 by way of an e-auction.

The original plants were brought over from Fall Creek Nursery in the US and after various soil acid tests were made, 9 blueberry varieties were chosen: O'Neal, Misty, Legacy, Reka, Bluecrop, Bluejay, Bluegold, Chandler and Earliblue. Since then, other varieties have also become available, including Duke, Brigitta and Aurora.

"After seeing impressive results back in 2012 and 2013, more and more growers have become interested in blueberry cultivation. Our company, Blueberry LLC, bought the orchard situated in Naruja that the government put up for sale in 2016. The Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia is actively busy promoting the states development by provide a range of programs supporting growers so that we can become competitive in the international market. Our new orchard is partially financed by government. We also plan to apply for cold storage facility financing later." shared Mamia Janashia from Blueberry LLC.

Earlier season advantage for Georgian blueberries
The total area of blueberry orchards in Georgia for Spring 2017 is around 200 ha, with the average orchard size around 10-15 ha. Due to the smaller sized orchards, the blueberries are picked exclusively by hand, which helps cut down on damaged berries.

"The fact that our season is earlier than Ukraine and Belarus, gives us the advantage of being able to get to the Russian market before our competitors. Our blueberries are almost exclusively designated for export because the berries are still too expensive for most of the local market. Russia is a great market for us for many reasons; it is closer than the EU, also there are no special requirements at this moment for export like Global Gap etc. Even though Poland is no longer allowed to send their blueberries to Russia, we will never be competitors because most of our blueberries are much earlier, however, this is not the same situation with Morocco, Portugal and Spain."

Global Berry Conference
"We recently attended the Global Berry Conference in Rotterdam to start our venture into the EU market. It is a great opportunity to meet fresh berry suppliers and distributors who might have an interest in our blueberries and we are hopeful. However, it is a work in progress because our cultivation is quite new (2-3 years old), so it will still take some time before we reach the larger production amounts for export." Mamia concluded.

For more information:
Mamia Janashia
Blueberry LLC
Tel: +995 577080609
Email: info@blue-berry.ge
Skype: blue-berry.ge

Publication date: 4/21/2017
Author: Heather Wicks
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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