Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick

Blueberry industry targets China

Local growers hope a new agreement will open up the massive Chinese market to B.C. blueberries.

Local growers hope a new agreement will open up the massive Chinese market to B.C. blueberries.

Last summer, a small amount of fresh blueberries were sent to the country to ensure that the packing-and-shipping process met all the requirements in the agreement between the governments of Canada and China. The test run was a success, and 2016 is set to be the first full year that B.C. will be shipping fresh blueberries to the country.

The province says 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.

“The B.C. blueberry industry is excited about expanding international markets and especially this new opportunity to provide our healthy, sweet and quality fresh B.C. blueberries to China,” said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the BC Blueberry Council, in a press release. “2016 will be the first full season of shipments to Mainland China and our registered growers and suppliers have been working hard to ensure the highest standards. British Columbia is one of the few regions able to ship fresh blueberries to China and today our growers celebrate access to this valued Asian market.”