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Chinese blueberries attract attention at international gathering

By Fan Feifei in Beijing and Li Yingqing and Li Xinyi in Qujing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-12 07:25

Chinese blueberries attract attention at international gathering

Clusters of berries. [Photo/VCG]

The International Blueberry Organization is bullish on the prospects for the Chinese blueberry market, which is benefiting from huge demand on the part of Chinese consumers and an excellent production base in Qujing, Yunnan province.

"Qujing enjoys a unique natural environment and wild climate, which is suitable for the growth of crops. The blueberries produced in Qujing have a high quality, with high sugar content and hardness," said Zhang Zulin, the deputy governor of Yunnan province, on Monday at the opening ceremony of the 2017 International Blueberry Organization Summit.

Zhang added that the Qujing blueberries could be sold on the market in April, which just makes up for the supply gap from international markets during that month.

Peter McPherson, chairman of the IBO, said China's blueberry production industry stands out due to its huge market potential.

"The good thing that we've found is that the Chinese consumer loves blueberries," said McPherson, adding that blueberries are an emerging industry in China and he is bullish about the prospects for the market.

IBO, a global organization, is aimed at bringing together leaders from around the blueberry world in all segments of the industry, collecting and sharing information and fostering a common goal of increased worldwide blueberry consumption.

It is the first time that the IBO Summit was held in China. Chile, Mexico, Australia, Argentina and Uruguay have previously hosted the summit.

As one of the leading blueberry production bases in China, Qujing has already planted 870 hectares of blueberries, representing 50 percent of the total blueberry production in Yunnan.

In 2020, blueberry production will reach 2,500 metric tons in Qujing and reach 250 million yuan ($38.3 million) in output.

Dong Baotong, the mayor of Qujing, said the government is making great efforts to develop the whole industrial chain related to blueberries, including the R&D of blueberry varieties, breeding of seedlings, planting, storage and sorting, logistics and retail, making Qujing a leading capital of blueberry production.

"In general, Yunnan province has the unique opportunity to produce blueberries during early season until the summer period if with the right variety, the right genetics, the right cultural system and right technology. It's also possible to produce some in winter and spring. And that's why a lot of international companies are looking for it in Yunnan," said Cort Brazelton, founder of IBO and the director of Fall Creek Farm & Nursery Inc.

"I have enormous confidence of the blueberry growth in Chinese market. Like all other international companies, we are all excited and we have strong desire to work with the Chinese regional governments to help Chinese blueberry industry sustainable."

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