July 2020 saw the commencement of Namibia’s first-ever commercial harvest of blueberries by local company Mashare Berries Farming (Pty) Ltd. The historic harvest is currently underway on a 20 ha development located close to the Okavango River between Mashare and Mupapama villages in Kavango East, northern Namibia. The fruit is being sold and marketed under the trading name Namib Blue, and is earmarked for Namibian as well as international consumption. Exports are set to commence in August to markets across Europe and Asia and Indian Ocean islands, including Mauritius, the Maldives and Seychelles.
According to Willem Mostert, Namibian manager of Cherry Irrigation, whose team designed and implemented the fully automated drip irrigation (and fertigation management) system for the landmark project, the quality of the fruit harvested has so far been exceptional.
“A few years ago, no one would have dreamed that you could grow high-quality blueberries in a country as dry as this, says the Namibian-born Mostert. “We’re proving what’s possible with the right planning, infrastructure and management in place.”
Mashare project director Albert Basson says the 2020 harvest is set to continue into late October. “We’re projecting a yield of up to 150 tonnes, as different varietals reach maturity. Currently, three varietals imported from the US-based grower Fall Creek have been planted on the property: AtlasBlue, JupiterBlue and BiancaBlue. The plantings were established in November 2019, with 16 ha undernet, 2 ha in tunnels and 2 ha of an open field.”