Fresh blueberries from the Republic of Zambia meeting the stipulated phytosanitary requirements are now permissible for import into China.

This is according to an announcement made by China’s General Administration of Customs on 9 September 2020.

According to the announcement, only fresh blueberries originating from the Chisamba region of central Zambia will be allowed to enter China. Exports to China may be conducted by either air or sea. However, because Zambia is an inland country, most of its exports are shipped to overseas markets by sea from Cape Town in South Africa or Walvis Bay in Namibia.

Cold treatment requirements were also included in the announcement. Fresh Zambian blueberries destined for China must be subjected to cold storage at less than 1.11 degrees Celsius for 15 consecutive days, less than 1.67 degrees Celsius for 17 consecutive days or less than 2.22 degrees Celsius for 21 consecutive days.

Although Zambia lies within the tropics, its climate is relatively cool owing to the high altitude, making the country very agreeable for human settlement and agricultural development. Taking advantage of key strengths such as this favourable climate, fertile land and the third-largest water resource on the African continent, two out of every three people in Zambia live on agriculture. In recent years, the growing trend within the country has been witnessing a gradual shift from crops such as maize, soybeans, rice, wheat, cotton, sugar and tobacco to higher-value items such as macadamia nuts, groundnuts, avocados, blueberries and chilies.

The agricultural potential of Zambia has also attracted global berry giants to extensively invest in the country. For example, OZblu, a world-renowned blueberry brand featuring a range of premium varieties, has selected Zambia as a crucial hub for its commercial production in Africa.

Concerning the bilateral relationship between Zambia and China, the African country attaches great significance to its collaboration with China, which is believed to benefit people on both sides. According to Zambia’s domestic media, in addition to blueberries, China is also very interested in importing lambs from Zambia.