Blueberry industry leaders from around the world will soon gather for their annual meeting to discuss key issues and future opportunities, with this year’s event to be held in China for the first time.
The International Blueberry Organization’s IBO Summit 2017 will be held in southern China’s Qujing City, Yunnan Province, from Sept. 10-12.
It is the event’s fifth installment, with Chile, Mexico, Australia, and Argentina-Uruguay having previously acted as hosts.
Attendees are set to enjoy a comprehensive agenda of talks and panel discussions, with topics including technology, Chinese market access practice, global trends, and industry cooperation between China and the rest of the world.
A representative of Chinese produce company Joy Wing Mau – one of the event’s supporting partners – said it was “very significant” the IBO Summit was being held in the Asian country for the first time.
One of the keys reasons is that it will give domestic growers a greater understanding about the global industry and their future, Jerome Chen told Fresh Fruit Portal.
“In addition, we will host a lot of international blueberry experts and industry actors, and I hope we can bring some new ideas and suggestions to China,” Chen said.
International attendees will also be able to gain valuable insights about the Chinese industry and learn about opportunities to grow the on-trend superfruit in the country, he added.
While Chen explained the Chinese blueberry sector was not as developed as the likes of the U.S. and Chile in terms of technology or varietal development, he believed there was strong potential.
“The IBO is a big platform to help the Chinese and global blueberry industry work with each other,” he said.
The IBO Summit has grown significantly since its inauguration in Florida a few years ago.
Chen, who will be moderating a panel discussion on international cooperation, expected around 400 international attendees along with a few dozen domestic industry actors.
He noted that Yunnan Province was not the country’s traditional growing region, with much of the industry concentrated in the north.
However, he explained the introduction of new technology and genetics had allowed for high quality blueberries to be produced there, and it was now a major up-and-coming cultivation area.
Deputy director of Yunnan Provincial Department of Agriculture, Jian Hui Du, said there was a “unique advantage” to developing the blueberry industry in the region.
“Yunnan’s natural environment brings about good quality of blueberries, and allows for a long period of provision of blueberries in the market,” he said.
“In the future, the department will continue to rely on the province’s premium growing conditions to build up China’s premium blueberry industry, using market demand as its direction and technological innovation as its pillar.”
Head of Qujing’s Department of Agriculture, Bin Wang, also highlighted that Qujing blueberries could help to “fill in the void in international market during April to May.”