Florida blueberries

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has notified the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) that its 2022 Market Access Program (MAP) funding award will nearly double to US$597,810, up from US$299,195 in 2021 and US$207,449 in 2020.

“This exponential funding increase in just two years demonstrates that our programmes are working, and is a vote of confidence for the USHBC’s efforts from the USDA,” said Alicia Adler, USHBC vice-president of global business development.

“We’ve been extremely successful in choosing new markets for US highbush blueberries, particularly China and Southeast Asia, and the additional funding will allow us to continue to grow our programme and develop additional new international markets,' she added.

USHBC said that it would use the new MAP funds to expand promotions of fresh, frozen, dried and further processed blueberries in targeted export markets throughout Asia.

Leading markets of focus would include Japan, South Korea, China and Southeast Asia.

The increased funding comes on the heels of further good news for USHBC, including a new strategic plan to lead the organisation through 2025, and the passage of the 2021 referendum that allows the organisation to continue its demand-driving work.

The referendum was approved in late October, with 84 per cent of producers and importers – representing 93 per cent of the volume of highbush blueberries grown – voting in favour of continuing the programme.