OZblu® Magica Shines at Global Grower Conference

Perth, 13 June 2024 – The annual OZblu® Global Grower Conference has become a cornerstone event for many OZblu®  blueberry growers worldwide, and this year’s conference was the largest and most impactful since its inception in 2017. More than 200 growers, industry experts, customers, staff and suppliers attended the event on 6 and 7 June 2024, which featured 28 presentations over two days, centred around the theme of “Growing Together”.

The keynote address was delivered by Cindy van Rijswick, Global Strategist from Rabobank, who spoke about the evolution of the blueberry category. She highlighted the potential for increased blueberry consumption due to its convenience and versatility, and the future possibility of mechanised harvesting in developed countries, which could change the sector and keep prices more affordable.

Van Rijswick emphasised the rising standards within the blueberry industry, noting that while demand remains strong, the need for quality and consistency will be a requirement, with proprietary varieties gaining market share. She discussed the concept of ‘glocalisation’ – companies becoming more global with a local presence – and the ongoing consolidation across the supply chain.

Furthering Cindy’s observation that AI has entered the sector in an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary way, Marco Snikkers of One Third later discussed the role of AI in optimising the supply chain and reducing waste. Marek Fisher of West Blu farm in Australia shared insights on machine harvesting for fresh, highlighting its unique potential in developed countries close to the consumption market.

In Peru over the past season, OZblu® outperformed the average Peruvian blueberry orchard yield by 2.9 times, despite the challenges posed by the El Niño phenomenon​, being in excess of 36 tonne per hectare. The success in Peru can be attributed specifically to the benchmark variety – OZblu®Magica. A variety that is setting a high bar in the industry in terms of yield, price, shelf-life and flavour.

And, the OZblu® brand continues to push for excellence. The conference’s focused agenda, led by United Exports leaders, explored how to execute the OZblu® Recipe with greater precision by empowering people with process and knowledge.

Roger Horak, Executive Chairman and Founder of United Exports, stated, “We believe in following the data and using it to precisely connect our OZblu®varieties, growers, and consumers. Some say we are more agri-tech than agricultural, but at the end of the day, we are all growers with a great passion for getting the best out of every single berry we grow. And, we are all growing together.”

After the conference, over a hundred blankets were donated to SA Harvest, who support disadvantaged communities and disaster relief efforts.