Blueberry Growth Pt 3

Blueberry Growth Pt 3

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. With a pandemic creating challenges, Northwest blueberry production has two new export markets to lift their spirits, with the Philippines and China expected to keep demand growing.

Asked if our blueberry industry will feel the impact of these new markets right away, Washington Blueberry Commission’s Alan Schreiber says …

SCHREIBER … “Oh for sure! COVID has thrown us for a loop, but we got into Viet Nam last year for the first time and between Washington and Oregon, on a joint promotion, we sent in over a million pounds of blueberries.”

Schreiber says Asia should be huge …

SCHREIBER … “I would have expected almost as much to go into the Philippines this year and even more going into Viet Nam this year, but because there aren’t a lot of jet planes going over, our ability to send them over there is limited. So, I think you’ll see a dip in our exports. But, we expect, in three years from now, four years from now, that Southeast Asia will be a multi-million-dollar export market for us.”

So, will new plantings continue? …

SCHREIBER … “Yes, but I think you’re not going to see significantly large blocks of new plantings. You’ll see a little bit here and there. I think that you’ll see some people carrying out blueberries and replacing them with better varieties, but I think planting is going to level off. But, bear in mind, even if no more blueberries were planted after this year our production is going to be increasing for the next five to seven years.”

If you’re looking for something to do during this pandemic, Schreiber says head out to one of the U-pick blueberry farms while the getting is good.

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