South African blueberries: Market access is key ingredient for sector growth

South African Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza has made a compelling case for the potential of the agricultural sector as a means of achieving economic growth, unlocking job creation and bringing about transformation in the economy.

Blueberries have been hailed worldwide as a “superfood” with myriad health benefits, sending global demand for the fruit rocketing. This means that now is the time to capitalise on South Africa’s booming blueberry industry.

One just needs to look at those markets where we already have access to see how well blueberry exports perform. In our UK access to the market the growth of the blueberry sales already far exceeds all other fruit.  Last year fruit sales as a whole in the UK grew by 3.6 percent, while blueberries as a category grew by 13.4 percent.

South African berry producers have taken full advantage of the growth in that market and it's reflected in the growth of South African blueberry exports. In 2018, 54 percent of South Africa's blueberry exports were destined for the UK.

According to an article on¸ it is largely thanks to this export growth that the number of workers employed in the industry increased from around 1,000 in 2014 to more than 8,000 this year. This number is expected to reach 14,000 by 2023.

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