Today, Zambian President Edgar Lungu will officiate the flagging-off ceremony marking the inaugural export of Zambian grown fresh blueberries to China. The ceremony will be held at the Zambezi Berry Company in the Chongwe District in Lusaka Province.
Zambia is the latest country to gain access to China for this super-food commodity. The granting of access to the Chinese market marks the culmination of a three year process after Zambia applied for access in 2017.
Market access is a critical ingredient in the success of African enterprises. Although the northern hemisphere still dominates global berry production, South American producers and exporters have experienced a meteoric rise largely thanks to their access to key markets including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Europe and China.
According to the last published report of the International Blueberry Organisation (IBO), the northern hemisphere accounts for 84% of global blueberry hectares planted. Of the 16% of blueberry production hectares planted in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile and Peru account for some 80%. Presently, the whole of Southern Africa’s fledgling industry produces less than 6% of the world’s blueberry plantations. There is therefore so much potential for Southern Africa to take up a place to compete with South America on the global blueberry stage.
In July 2020, it was announced that Zambia been granted access to the Chinese market for blueberries grown in Zambia. Since then, all necessary access protocols have been finalised, and the required Notice of Authority has been published by the Chinese Customs Authority. In September, the Zambezi Berry Co. received official confirmation that it was formally listed and could export to China. The first shipments of Zambian blueberries to China will leave Zambezi berries in 2021.
“We are extremely excited about this new opportunity to access one of the largest markets in the world. We are confident that, by maintaining our world-class quality with these World-leading OZblu® varieties while significantly increasing quantity, we can successfully compete with some of the biggest global producers,” said the managing director of the Zambezi Berry Co., Graham Rae.
The Zambezi Berry Company is a joint venture between Zambezi Ranching Cropping, one of the largest agri-businesses in Zambia, and the United Exports Group, an innovative market leader operating throughout the agricultural supply chain, from breeding to distribution focussed primarily on its OZblu® blueberries.
United Exports is proud to be a part of this innovative venture, and expects this marvellous achievement for Zambia to be the first of many celebrations as Africa gains ground in the international blueberry market.
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