KUNMING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese demand for blueberries has been rapidly growing, offering abundant opportunities for the international blueberry growing industry.
The country's blueberry imports have grown from 692 to 8,722 tonnes from 2012 to 2016, with the trade volume growing from 4.6 million to 78.4 million U.S. dollars, according to a report published at the 2017 International Blueberry Organization (IBO) Summit held from Sept. 10-12 in Qujing, southwest China's Yunnan Province.
During the first seven months of 2017, blueberry imports registered an annual growth of 42.7 percent, and the trade volume grew by 37 percent, the report said.
Felipe Juillerat, president of the Chilean Blueberry Committee, said that some 70 percent of Chile's blueberry exports to Asia go to the Chinese market.
China's per capita consumption of blueberries is 3.7 grams per year, compared to 1.5 kilograms in the United States, which means the Chinese market is full of potential, he said.
According to the IBO, China has seen a robust growth in blueberry farming. Before 2008, the fruit was grown in only six provinces and that number grew to 27 in 2016.
Chilean berry expert Pilar Banados said, as Chinese territory spans a long distance from north to south, it is suitable for growing different varieties of blueberries.
The summit was jointly hosted by the local government in Qujing, the provincial agriculture department and the IBO. The IBO was established in 2011, and the summit has previously been held in Chile, Mexico, Australia and Uruguay.