More B.C. blueberries are bound for Asia as the first year of large-scale exports to China ramps up.
Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick was in Langley Sunday to announce the agreement between Canada and China is now fully in effect.
Last year Canadian blueberry producers did a test run of a small volume of exports to ensure that packaging and shipping procedures were met.
Now British Columbia will increase the amount of fresh blueberry shipments to China this season and B.C. blueberry growers could be looking at the potential of up to $65 million in exports a year, once the agreement is fully implemented.
British Columbia is one of the largest highbush blueberry-growing regions in the world, producing about 96% of the Canadian production of cultivated blueberries. In 2015, B.C. farmers harvested about 70,000 tonnes of blueberries, an increase of 7%. Exports of B.C.’s blueberries accounted for $218 million, up more than 29% from 2014.
One of the first companies to take advantage of the new agreement is Langley’s Blueridge Produce.
“This event marks a very exciting time for the B.C. blueberry industry and represents the culmination of years of hard work,” said Rhonda Driediger of Blueridge Produce and Driediger Farms. “We are very proud to be one of the first B.C. companies to be approved for exporting fresh blueberries to China.”