North Korean blueberry growers in northern regions have enjoyed a fruitful harvest this year, presenting an excellent opportunity some enterprises to generate much-needed foreign currency, according to Dailynk.com. Extensive fields to grow blueberries were developed in the early 1990s in the Yangang Province, with residents in the local areas being called on to help pick the fruit. The story reported that although blueberries were considered very precious in North Korea, they only recently became a source of earning foreign capital. The taste and quality of the fruit is said to be far superior to that of grapes available in the northern regions, and as such their juice is often fermented to make a beverage similar to wine. Dailynk.com reported that the people called to help with the harvest were required to gather 10kg (22lbs) of fruit per day over 10 days, after which time the provincial organizations would sell them to earn foreign currency. The story added if people found they had picked more than the required amount, they had the right to sell the fruit themselves or take it home for personal consumption. The harvested berries are sent for processing in plants around the Yangang Province, where the concentrated juice is produced for export to China. Last year one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of blueberries fetched up to CNY35-40 (US$5.70-6.50), according to Dailynk.com, but this year increasing demand saw the price shoot up to CNY60 (US$9.77) per kilo.
Fresh Fruit Portal