Strong early run on South African blueberries
August 24, 2023

Less than two years elapsed between South African pears and now avocados gaining access to China, pleasantly surprising the fruit industry, accustomed to waiting many years between such announcements.

“We’re incredibly pleased at the speed with which the avocado application was finalised – progress was much quicker than we’ve seen over the past couple of years. We are excited for our colleagues in the stonefruit industry whose application for Chinese access will next be considered. We fervently hope that their application is finalised with the same rapidity,” Elzette Schutte, operational manager at Berries ZA, says; blueberry access to China will then be considered.

South Africa started its blueberry exports by week 25 and has had a good run so far, with a 23% YTD rise over 2022/2023 exports and an export estimate of 25,000 tonnes.

Europe and the UK remain the main buyers of South African blueberries but exporters have sent 120 tonnes more to the Middle East.

The Far East has thus far received close to 200 tonnes of South Africa's blueberries, while Europe's share will catch up as the season progresses and South Africa has almost doubled its blueberry exports to the UK.

Last October’s strike by Transnet employees affected South African blueberry growers disproportionately and the next six weeks are critical to the blueberry supply chain.

Labour unions representing Transnet employees are opposing Transnet’s privatisation deal at the port of Durban and it is making the industry nervous.