Blueberry production – and employment - skyrockets to all-time high

Blueberries (pixabay.com, 2019)

The jobs story is the biggest story about blueberries…

Sean Tager, Vice-Chairperson - SA Berry Producers Association

Blueberry production in South Africa is set to reach 17 000 tons this year – an all-time high.

South Africa produced 11 300 tons in 2018.

About 70% of the blueberries produced in the country are exported.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Sean Tager, Vice-Chairperson at SA Berry Producers Association (SABPA).

SABPA is lobbying Minister of Agriculture Thoko Didiza to help it gain access to the Chinese market.

Blueberry business is booming

  • Between 2013 and 2018 the value of blueberry exports grew from R133 million to R1.058 billion.

  • Between 2014 and 2019 the number of people employed in the blueberry industry rose from 1000 to 8000.

  • SABPA forecasts production to reach 50 000 tonnes by 2023.

  • SABPA estimates the industry will employ 14 000 people by 2023 (rising to 26 000 if the industry gains access to the Chinese market).

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for more quotes from it).

There’s a massive surge [in demand] locally and internationally… There is a massive amount of growth, disproportionate to other fruit types…

Sean Tager, Vice-Chairperson - SA Berry Producers Association

There are about 90 growers in South Africa… in all the provinces… About 65% are grown in the Western Cape…

Sean Tager, Vice-Chairperson - SA Berry Producers Association

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