Made in UAE: Abu Dhabi-grown blueberries now exported to India, Japan, Thailand

First Emirati company to export to markets like Japan that have strict requirements for high-quality certifications


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 10:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 27 Apr 2023, 10:03 PM

Abu Dhabi-headquartered Emirati company has expanded its export of popular home-grown blueberries to new destinations like Japan, Thailand, India and Cambodia.

Elite Global Fresh Trading (EGFT), a subsidiary of Yas Holding’s agriculture division Elite Agro Holding (EAG), is a leading producer and trader of sustainably grown, premium quality farm fresh produce. EAG is the first and biggest producer in the country to grow blueberries and the first Emirati company to export to markets like Japan that have a strict requirement for high-quality certifications.

Exports of the ‘Elite Berry’ brand began this month and will continue until the end of May. In 2024, the company plans to extend the export season from January to May and add new export markets, backed by expanding production at EAG’s local farms that leverage sustainable farming capabilities.

“We’re proud to see the expansion of the international distribution network for our high-quality and popular blueberries. This strategic move supports the UAE’s food security and its vision for economic diversification while placing the country among elite agricultural exporting countries,” said Dr Abdulmonem Almarzooqi, Elite Agro Holding CEO and board member.

Last year, EGFT debuted locally grown blueberry exports to the international markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Our export expansion demonstrates our commercial strength and our robust and sustainable farming capabilities. We’re optimistic about future growth in the export of blueberries to these new markets, which we have penetrated despite significant competition from producers in Morocco, Spain and Peru,” Dr Almarzooqi noted.

EGFT will be exporting the Mountain Blue Orchards (MBO) varieties of blueberries that have premium qualities, such as jumbo size, long shelf life, increased sweetness, great firmness and texture. The farm employs a two-hand picking technique and ensures less than 24 hours between picking and shipping to deliver maximum freshness. It implements special temperature control requirements in the post-production process at its packing facility to ensure its high-quality produce stays fresh for longer until it reaches its final international customers. All exports will be by air freight.

“There is massive demand from the Asia-Pacific region for UAE-produced fresh, tasty and high-quality blueberries, and EAG is the pioneering and leading producer of five varieties of the fruit,” Dr Almarzooqi added.

Sustainable farming

EAG grows five exclusive MBO varieties of blueberries at its Al Foah Farm in Al Ain, where the company has doubled its blueberry production capacity by adding 14 hectares of greenhouses dedicated to growing an additional 72,000 plants for the 2023 harvest. Its output capacity has risen over the past two years, from 205 to 280 tonnes of blueberries in 2022 to almost 400 tonnes in 2023.

EAG uses a combination of eco-friendly, sustainable, and modern farming solutions and practices in its UAE farms to minimise the use of natural resources and optimise crop yield. These include fully automated planting-to-harvesting methods, advanced adaptive irrigation, integrated pest management, and post-harvest management.

EAG has significant expertise in sustainable farming gained from operating more than 30 local and international farms. Also, the company grows and supplies a range of high-quality fruits and vegetables, including raspberry and blackberry varieties, strawberries and potatoes, to the local market, among other fresh produce.


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