Fall 2013

>> Spring 2014
>> Fall 2013
>> Spring 2012
>> Fall 2011
>> Spring 2011
field day

Movement up in Korea

The Oregon blueberry industry had a goal of moving one million pounds of fresh blueberries into South Korea this year, the second year of shipping fresh berries into the promising new market.

The industry fell short of its goal, according to Bryan Ostlund, administrator of the Oregon Blueberry Commission, but not by much.

“We got fairly close,” Ostlund said. “We shipped 744,810 pounds. That’s not bad, but I would’ve liked that number to be seven figures.”

The number was up considerably from 2012, when Oregon moved 488,400 pounds of fresh blueberries into the emerging South Korean market.

“That’s a significant increase and an encouraging increase,” said Jim Cramer, director of market access and certification programs for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Promotional Song Used in South Korea Blueberry Market

Oregon gained access to South Korea in the fall of 2011 and has shipped product there the last two years. Oregon is the only state in the nation granted that access, but the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council recently applied with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to open the market to other states.

“We don’t know how long it will take for the market to open to other states,” Ostlund said. “We worked for many years to get it open to Oregon, but now that Oregon is open, the assumption is that the application for other states could go quicker.”

Ostlund said he welcomes the addition of other states in the fast-growing market. “I think it's easy to be proprietary about that market, but one of the things the blueberry industry has done well is, we are very good at cooperating,” he said. “Yes, we work to develop markets for the Oregon industry, but we would have the same expectations of Washington or California or other states that if they were the first in a market, they would help us gain entry.

“It would be nice to have the market to ourselves, but looking long-term, we are much better off cooperating with our partner states than to be out there slugging it out for ourselves,” Ostlund said.

“It is awfully nice to have resources and industry people in place over there,” he said.

Ostlund attributed the increased movement into Korea this past summer in part to market promotions the Oregon industry has conducted in Korea with the help of the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

 “It was nice to see some industry-wide promotions, which really helped a lot,” Ostlund said.

“Part of what USHBC is doing now is to develop the market so when other states come in, it is a sizable market."

Reports from importers in Korea are that interest is picking up in both fresh and frozen blueberries, Ostlund said. And, he added, “They like our quality better than other sources in the world, which is great.

“I think our fresh sales are going to do nothing but increase,” he said.

Ostlund said shipments to Korea went smoothly this year. Despite extensive inspection protocols, the industry had only one small problem when a pest of concern was found in a shipment. But that was resolved and the berries were moved into the market.

“We’ve got some great quality growers involved in this thing and they helped keep us out of trouble,” he said.

Ostlund said the Oregon industry has submitted a formal request to Korea to relieve some of the inspection protocols, including requirements that Korean inspectors travel to Oregon to participate in inspections.

“It is a lot of work,” he said. “We don’t do it for any other export market and we have good inspectors here and the phyto process is a very effective one.”

Chairman's Report >>>

Movement up in Korea >>>

Market Report: Prices Low in Summer Fruit; In Frozen, Lots of B, But A Grade in Short Supply >>>

New Research Projects Generating Interest >>>

Marketing Program

SWD Changing the Economics
of Blueberry Production

Pesticide Update:
Bee Advisory for Neonicotinoid Insecticides; Changes to Sandea Herbicide Label

USDA Approves National Assessment Hike >>>

Highbush Blueberry Council Blueberry Alert System >>>