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China in search of blueberries for key periods
The general manager of the Chinese company Joyvio, Shaopeng Chen stated that Oregon, British Columbia, Peru and Mexico are potential suppliers for the window in early August until the first volumes of Chilean fruit arrive in late November.
"The Moon Festival is a very important season - people give gifts to all their clients, friends and relatives, but we have no supply for that moment," said Chen at the International Seminar of the International Blueberry Organization (IBO) .
"We could extend our supplies up to August or early September with all kinds of improvements as different varieties or different areas, but it is very difficult to expand it into September, October or November."
Chen also noted that there is a gap in the supply after the Chilean supply drops in mid-March and local supply begins in mid-April.
Joyvio’s representative explained that last year’s local demand was of 12,000 MT, of which two thirds were destined for the processed industry. Chen expects the demand for the fruit to reach the 60,000 MT in 2016, with a 50-50 split between processed and fresh fruit. Adding that half of the 60,000 MT is likely to come from abroad.
Chen said China had around 10.000 hectares in production in 2012, of which 1,000 hectares belonged to Wallen Blueberry Fruits, the largest blueberry company in China, owned by Joyvio. While 90% of the industry is in the hands of corporations, many farmers have limited knowledge.
"Production is 5,000 MT. Why? Many areas still have very young plantations, and the yields are very poor, miserable."
"The industry is booming, it attracted speculative capital in the real estate industry. Many businessmen made huge amounts of money in real estate and saw that the blueberries were healthy and that they could make a lot of money investing in them, but now they are in trouble. "
The Chinese businessman explained to the attendees of the event that the industry has focused on reaching a 40,000 ton volume in 2016.
Shandong Province has the largest number of hectares planted with blueberries (2070 hectares), followed by Liaoning (1952 hectares), Jilin (1774 hectares) and Guizhou (1331 hectares).
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