Indian blueberry grower-marketer IG Berries is readying to ramp up production following the success of its first harvest.
The company – a joint venture between leading Indian importer IG International, Australia-based global breeder and marketer Mountain Blue Orchards and experienced agribusiness investor Mano Babiolakis – picked trial volumes last year, but 2021 marked its first real harvest.
“Our forecasts indicate we’ll finish with around 80 tonnes harvested this year, and the fruit has been extremely well received by Indian consumers,” said IG International’s director, Tarun Arora.
IG Berries was established back in 2017, and Arora said this milestone harvest follows more than three years' extensive efforts by the partners to get the vertically integrated operation up and running.
“We’ve had to deal with a number of challenges, starting with finding the right pieces of land with good water and climatic conditions,” he said.
“The learning curve has been very steep at every point, especially given that our strategy is do everything in-house, from producing the tissue culture plants, through nursery production, to all the growing, harvesting, packing, logistics and sales.”
IG Berries is looking confidently to its future, with the three partners bringing a compelling combination to the table. “The project is now well-established with a great team on the ground,” Arora affirmed. “MBO has exceptional genetics and varieties, and their technical and agronomic expertise has been incredibly important to our team here.”
IG Berries has ambitious expansion plans. “We currently have 110,000 plants in the ground, and we recently commenced the second phase of planting – this includes some 250,000 plants that will be in the ground by the end of May 2021.”
But this is just the beginning of the company’s journey in blueberries. “Going forward our plan is to buy more land and plant around 400,000 plants per annum,” Arora added.