oa Agriprobe - Economic contribution of SA’s blueberry industry

Volume 16 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1810-9799



Extensively grown fruit crops, like citrus, table grapes and pome fruit, are likely to remain a vital part of South Africa’s rural economy. Yet, some minor fruit crops like berries, serve as catalysts for rapid agricultural development. Blueberry production in particular, continues to spread widely across the country and at a tremendous rate (Figure 1). This is good news for those earning a rural living, as blueberries create more seasonal and permanent jobs per hectare planted than most other horticultural crops (Figure 2). Furthermore, according to current agricultural norms, both casual labourers and full-time employees are paid very well on blueberry farms. Seasonal labour demand for harvesting blueberries peaks conveniently during October and November, which does not clash with the harvesting of major fruit crops (Figure 3). The capital-intensive nature of modern cultivation techniques also makes blueberry farmers valuable clients of agricultural input suppliers. Fresh blueberries are mostly exported, thereby earning foreign revenue in support of the economy.

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