Harm Valckx: “Growth of blueberry market not finished yet”

New cooperative for blueberry growers founded: Coöperatie European Blueberry Growers U.A.

Last month, a new cooperative for blueberry growers was founded: Coöperatie European Blueberry Growers U.A. “We’ve been working with these growers for quite some time within Berry Packing Services. Sales will now be taken care of by the new grower’s cooperative. It was a long-cherished wish to group ourselves and to take care of our own sales,” says Harm Valckx. Twelve growers have joined the new cooperative, and they have a combined area of about 280 hectares, good for about 2.5 million kilos of Dutch and German blueberries. “For now, we’ll be doing it with this club.”

Two of the growers are SKAL-certified, so the cooperative also has about 300 tonnes of organic berries at its disposal. “Demand for organic berries is starting to increase. Prices for these are better than for conventional berries as well, but the balance between supply and demand is still fragile,” Harm explains.

The blueberries of the cooperative’s members are packed, as per customer wishes, by Berry Packing Services, the sorting and packing station for blueberries in Venlo, the Netherlands. This company was founded a few years ago from a partnership between Special Fruit from Meer and the production companies of Harm Valckx and Leon Schrijnwerkers. The location in the former building of Sunberry International means Harm is now at his former location again.

“We’re feeling hopeful about the coming season. Up till now, the harvest and pricing were both good. The blueberries are a bit smaller this year, but I’m not disappointed in the amount of kilos,” Harm says. He expects this year’s season to be spread over a slightly longer period, so that berries will be harvested until early September.

In recent years, the sales of blueberries experienced an enormous increase, in part thanks to larger packaging. However, Harm doesn’t think the market is saturated yet. “All lights are set to green for the market to continue growing. I just don’t expect the Dutch production to continue increasing much more. Unless innovations in the harvest occur, otherwise the production would simply become too expensive in the Netherlands,” Harm concludes.

For more information:
Harm Valckx
Coöperatie European Blueberry Growers U.A.
Tel: +31 77 76 50 000

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