November’s high-profile trade mission to China will include Oxford Frozen Foods of Nova Scotia. Federal agriculture minister Laurence MacAulay tweeted that “another agreement signed October 17 opens the door for Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. to promote and increase sales of high-quality Canadian blueberries in China.”
The mission runs Nov. 7 to 15 and gives delegates the opportunity to network with prospective Chinese customers in the economic centres of Qingdao, Shanghai and Beijing, and attend two major trade shows for food and fisheries products. Shanghai is host to
Nova Scotia’s wild blueberries are world-renowned, but the province was hit with devastating frosts in early June this year, with serious effects for growers. According to Peter Rideout, executive director of the Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia, the crop was reduced by about two thirds. Yields were also affected in Prince Edward Island, southern New Brunswick and parts of Maine.
Fortunately, says Rideout, there was carry-over inventory of frozen fruit, so they still had a good supply for overseas and domestic customers.
Most of his association’s overseas Asian business is concentrated in Japan, China and South Korea. It is their third largest market, behind Europe and the U.S.
Rideout noted: “It can take literally years to build the connections necessary to establish an international trading relationship. And the heavy tariff of 30 per cent levied on blueberries going into China adds to the challenge of being a competitive exporter, even with a product of the highest quality.”