Costa and Driscoll’s joint venture blueberry operation in China has won this year’s Impact Award in the Asia Fruit Awards, announced this week.
The joint venture, which was established in 2015, includes close to 300 hectares of blueberries in the Yunnan Province in southern China.
The Impact Award recognises a person, company or organisation that has made a significant contribution to developing the fresh produce business in Asia.
Announcing the winner, Asiafruit editor John Hey said the Costa JV had brought world-leading berry growing technologies, varieties and farming expertise to China.
“These investments have helped to set benchmarks in terms of quality standards and price realisation for domestically grown berries in China. The partners’ Yunnan-grown berries consistently sell for significantly higher prices than imported berries in China, delivering a premium experience for Chinese consumers,” Mr Hey said.
In addition to its market impact, the JV was recognised for its social and economic impact in terms of poverty alleviation in the communities where it operates.
“The development of high-value berry production in Yunnan has established a lucrative industry that local communities can benefit from in terms of job creation and farmer incomes.”
Peter McPherson, General Manager of Costa Berries International, said it was a great honour and privilege to win the Impact Award.
“Over the space of five or six years, we have managed to establish a significant vertically integrated berry business, in which we have utilised Costa’s and Driscoll’s world leading reputation as growers and marketers of premium berries,” Mr McPherson said.
“This has included the establishment of substrate and protected berry plantings in Yunnan Province, southern China. Costa now operates across four main growing locations, with almost 300 planted hectares and more under development as we speak.
“What has been achieved to date is a great credit to all involved.
“We have had a commitment to work cooperatively and harmoniously with stakeholders including government officials, employees, local villages and the surrounding community. We have also worked closely with the local authorities to ensure that what we are doing provides benefit for the local communities. In particular, helping with poverty alleviation through providing ongoing employment.”
Mr McPherson thanked Asia Fruit Logistica and Asia Fruit Magazine for staging the Asia Fruit Awards.
“Both organisations deserve enormous credit for all they have done to promote the fresh produce industry in Asia.”