The possibility of blueberry exports to China from the Coffs Coast has the potential to provide a boost to the local economy.
The possibility of blueberry exports to China from the Coffs Coast has the potential to provide a boost to the local economy. Trevor Veale

Local blueberries a hot topic in China

OFF the back of a lucrative deal struck with the Chinese government for nectarine exports, the Coffs Coast's burgeoning blueberry industry was another topic of discussion in the country recently.

Luke Hartsyuker attended the iFresh Fruit and Vegetable Fair in Shanghai earlier in the month to welcome the first shipment of Australian nectarines to the nation, and took the opportunity to promote North Coast blueberries.

Mr. Hartyuker presented the idea as part of a push by the industry to open the Chinese market for Australian blueberry exports.

"Research by the industry indicates that demand for blueberries in China exceeds supply, so there is a substantial opportunity for North Coast farmers and producers," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"The impact on our local economy could be significant."

However, Mr Hartsyuker warned he doesn't want to give false hope to local farmers.

"There is a complicated and time-consuming process to be completed before the Chinese market is open for Australian blueberries," he said.

"Australia still has to conclude current negotiations with the Chinese authorities on other horticultural products, and negotiations on technical market access can be complex and protracted."

Discussions with representatives from the Australian blueberry industry revealed that there is a strong demand for Australian blueberries in China as they are considered "safe, healthy and delicious".

Australian berries are also available at times of the year when many other exporting countries aren't producing.

The announcement of the nectarine export deal was welcome for Australian horticulture, however Mr. Hartyuker did highlight that it would have no specific impact on Cowper as there is not a significant amount of stone fruit grown in the region.

As part of the nectarine export deal, Australian farmers began sending their fruit to China this month after almost 10 years of negotiations.



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