2016 was a difficult season for German blueberry growers, but nearing the end of 2016, although numbers are not what growers might have wanted, it is a good crop, with good quality. Although the weather this year has been far from ideal, there have been fewer issues with disease, which pretty much wiped out last year’s domestic harvest.
In 2016, the harvest of cultivated blueberries decreased by 10% to 10,700 metric tons. In addition to blueberries, 7,200 metric tons (+ 7%) of red and white currants and 6,800 metric tons (-5%) of black currants were the largest harvests of soft fruit grown on shrubs in Germany.
“German growers are satisfied with the season this year. Keeping the berries at the right quality was a challenge due to the rain and humidity in pack houses. It is crucial that growers learn more about how to keep the pack houses at the right temperatures in the coming years, in order to keep the humidity down and the berries dry,” said Maciej Chmielewski from Milbor.
“Although the quality may not be as high as the other blueberry producing countries, consumers there are interested in price and have a preference for domestic products over imports. This is why the German grown blueberries are exclusively for the domestic market. Many of my German colleagues have said that it may not be the best of the best, but they are satisfied with the quality of their berries.”
According to the USDA; ‘In 2016 the soft fruit was cultivated on a total of 8,460 hectares (+4% compared to 2015), of which the most part (97%) is cultivated in the open field. About one quarter of the total German area is in Lower Saxony and 83% of that area is used for open field cultivation of blueberries’.
Making up 16% of the population of the EU-28, Germany has the largest economy in Europe and is the largest consumer of fruits, making it the biggest market.
Germany is a very price sensitive market, and both, consumers and retailers are looking for top quality at a discount price.
Source: Fresh Plaza