The US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) will receive almost $600,000 from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) through its 2022 Market Access Program. The award is nearly double the amount the council received in 2021. Alicia Adler, USHBC vice president of global business development, said in a statement the increase “demonstrates that our programs are working, and is a vote of confidence for the USHBC’s efforts.” 

Alicia-Adler-optimized.jpgAlicia Adler

The federal funding is used to promote fresh, frozen and dried blueberries as well as ingredients such as puree, juice concentrate and powder. Adler said demand for the fruit is on the rise as food companies in Asia “are developing new products that incorporate blueberry ingredients.”

Target markets for the council’s 2022 efforts include Japan, South Korea, China and countries in southeast Asia. Adler said the ongoing shipping disruptions going to and coming from Asia, which have impacted all industries, have required US blueberry exporters to pay more attention to shipping availability and delays than usual. But overall she told Agri-Pulse 2021 was a “a good year internationally.” The FAS Market Access Program shares the cost of overseas marketing with trade organizations, cooperatives, small business and state/regional trade groups. Funding is awarded to applicants “that demonstrate the potential for effective performance based on a clear, long-term strategic plan,” according to the program website.

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