Scottish soft fruit growers have called for better marketing to promote their crop which they say is facing increased competition from South American imports.
James Porter of East Scryne Farm told The Courier that as consumers are used to buying the fruit year-round, they don’t discriminate between imported and home-grown fruit, especially as both are available in the summer. “Supermarkets stock British strawberries during the summer season – they wouldn’t get away with importing from abroad. We’re now asking them to take a similar approach with blueberries,” he said.
“Scottish growers managed to find a window of opportunity with this crop and blueberries tick a lot of boxes for us as they come on stream towards the end of the summer so extend the season for pickers, but it would be a brave grower who puts in more blueberries just now with concerns over returns and labour availability.”
Fellow grower Ross Mitchell from Laurencekirk added, “We have built a strong industry in Scotland, but we need more education on the quality and seasonality of what we’re producing. I hope retailers will support a campaign for British and Scottish fruit as COVID has led people to focus on a healthy local diet.”
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