The announcement overnight of a trade agreement between China and the U.S. in which China has agreed to finalize phytosanitary protocols for U.S. blueberries, highlights how Australian blueberry growers continue to miss out on export opportunities by not having access to the Chinese market, according to Berries Australia.
Australian blueberry growers (except for Tasmania) currently cannot export blueberries to China. This is because there is not an agreed export protocol in place for the treatment of fruit fly.
“Blueberries have been second on the Australian Government’s China horticultural export market access priority list after apples since October 2017, with an initial application lodged as far back as 2010. However, progress toward negotiating the export protocol has been slow, despite the efforts of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources,” said Berries Australia President, Peter McPherson.
Detailed research commissioned by the Australian Blueberry Growers Association (ABGA) in 2017 into the demand for Australian grown blueberries in China revealed that there is a strong and growing market.
The research conducted by Knudsen & Co and presented in a report titled ‘China’s Market for Australian Blueberries – A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity’ confirmed that there is an existing and growing Chinese demand for Australian blueberries that recognises the superior taste, size, food safety and nutritional value of Australian grown blueberries.
“It is very frustrating for the industry knowing that we have a superior product to have to sit by and watch on as a number of other countries have negotiated access for their blueberries into China. Countries including Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and now the U.S. have all obtained access. It is time for the Australian Government to take a whole of government approach in their trade negotiations with China, including the negotiating of access for blueberries at the highest political levels between the two the countries,” said Mr McPherson.