China has announced is opening is opening its borders to U.S. blueberries. Any time product is moved across the borders is a moment to be celebrated by the Michigan Blueberry Commission (MBC).
“Any amount is a good amount,” said Kevin Robson, executive director of MBC.
He said this isn’t be the first time blueberries will be shipped to China. The purchases are part of the Phase One agreement. So far, there hasn’t been any details on the amount that China will buy.
“We don’t count the blueberries purchased until they’re actually purchased,” he said. “We don’t have a specific dollar amount that this is going to equate to. A lot of things can happen and slow down the process—there’s a lot of different inspections, product availability, situations we encounter.
There have been rumors floating that China could bow out of the trade agreement, which could impact this announcement. Robson said first and foremost, the industry focuses on the domestic marketing and consumption of blueberries.
“We really tend to focus on those internal markets because those are long standing relationships we’ve had set up with marketers over the years,” he stated. “We look at exporting opportunities as a plus. Anything we can get from [exports] is additional movement of product.”
As for this year’s crop, Robson says the frost situation from earlier this month likely didn’t do much damage. But with warmer temperatures in the forecast, Robson said it will help with pollination and developing a good crop.
“Growers that I’ve talked to said they are looking at a really good bud set this year—A lot of things are pointing to a good crop this year,” he said.
When the crop comes on the beginning of July, Robson wants to encourage consumers to purchase products with the Michigan Blueberry label.