THE Australian blueberry industry has more than doubled its production in the past five years.
The impressive figure comes from today's Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences' (ABARES) Outlook 2018 agricultural commodities report for the March quarter.
The report puts the significant growth down, in part, to extensive plantings now coming online.
Australian production has leapt to 6800 tonnes, with a bigger goal on the horizon.
"Production is projected to increase to 8100 tonnes by 2022–23, assuming a further 565 hectares of previously non-bearing area (equivalent to 40 per cent of 2015–16 bearing area) reaching maturity," the ABARES report says.
"Australian blueberries have been given priority for future horticultural market access negotiations with China.
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"Chile is the dominant source of imported blueberries in China. Peru also gained market access to China and sent its first shipment in February 2017."
The Australian Blueberry Growers' Association says the fruit has a farmgate value of $120 million, with 75pc sold fresh within Australia, 10pc exported to Asia and Europe and 15pc, mainly as frozen product.
In his industry overview to BerryQuest International 2018 in Tasmania last month, conference chairman and Tasmanian berry grower, Simon Dornauf, said blueberries have been a very profitable crop with concentrated harvest windows.
He said one drawback to the industry was the slow turnaround in assessing potential new varieties, due to the long breeding time.
Mr Dornauf said he believed the future for blueberries in Australia was hydroponic production.