January 30, 2019
Blueberry growers across North America face significant headwinds, according to a key speaker at the Pacific Agriculture Show in Abbotsford on January 26.
“I can’t make the numbers work to give you a bright future,” said John Shelford, an observer of industry trends and strategic advisor to Naturipe Farms LLC.
The comment reflected number-crunching that yielded some key figures BC growers who want to survive need to keep in mind.
First, while total fresh blueberry production in North America totalled 786 million pounds in 2016 before dropping in 2017 and 2018, it’s on track for 586 million pounds in 2019 and will continue to rise as new plantings come into production.
But growth in fresh consumption has come entirely from imported product, Shelford said.
With projections of 2% annual growth in total blueberry consumption in the coming years, and half of that claimed by imports, North America only needs to produce an extra 12 million pounds each year.
With several producers in BC under pressure and little room to raise prices with consumers, Shelford said growers have two options: cut costs, and boost quality.
“You want people to buy blueberries? Deliver them flavour,” he said.
Vol. 105 Issue 2
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
ALR committee files report
Cannabis drives drop in Delta farm assessments
Editorial: Party and province
Back Forty: You can’t get apps on that
Viewpoint: Annual assessments a chance to take stock
Preliminary hearing in high-profile poultry abuse
Survey keeps national park reserve in spotlight
Political engagement headlines dairy meeting
World milk prices take blame for shifting returns
Patience is a virtue
Ag Briefs: Sasaki appointed new head of chicken board
Ag Briefs: Ottawa invests in dairy sector
AB: Piece rates, taxes increase
AB: AITC focuses on growth
Letters: Protect farmland from cannabis production
Letters: Dog owners need to accept responsibility
Letters: The beef about climate change
Cadillac’ of aviaries will reduce labour costs
Berry growers face new import requirements
Open house reveals secrets of diagnostics lab
Cannabis propagation industry sprouting in BC
Sidebar: Deep roots
FCC targets women with new business program
Agreement sets stage for fish farm phase-out
Grazing, forage and water top list at town hall
Ranchers reassured regarding bovine TB cases
Digging into soil nutrition at education day
Science of cannabis takes centre stage
Blueberry growers hone use of box liners
Ostrich industry takes flight with big plans
Tunnels boost fruit quality, add to berry season
Big bucks being spent to protect bee health
Sidebar: Province boosts funding
Mystery bee disease studied
Direct-marketing opportunities have potential
Research: Preventing soft scald in apples
Regional food system is the new focus of group’s efforts
Wannabe: Growers deserve our love
Woodshed: A performance Kenneth can’t afford to miss
Jude’s Kitchen: Happy new year, my sweet Valentine