Kosovo blueberries have a great potential

Kosovo blueberries - USAID expert explains to climatic conditions for growing blueberries
USAID expert explains to climatic conditions for growing blueberries

Kosovo blueberries have a great potential

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Xheraldina Cernobregu

High-bush blueberries are a fast-emerging crop with bright future and great marketing opportunities in the region. At present, there are around 20 small blueberry plantations in northern Kosovo, but current or potential growers face challenges such as a lack of technical knowledge, marketing and financial information, and advisory assistance.

To overcome the obstacle, USAID organized a training workshop for local farmers. Some 10 Kosovo Serbs and Bosniaks from north of Kosovo interested in entering or expanding production of this fruit, attended this technical assistance workshop focused on blueberry plantation establishment, soil acidity management, nutrition, irrigation, and raising awareness of the marketing opportunities for blueberries grown in the region.

Trainees learned about climatic conditions in the region and the available soil and water in Kosovo that are proving to be ideal for high-bush bluberries. According to the experts Kosovo might be able to enter the market earlier than most of the European competitors, and probably 2 to 3 weeks ahead of Poland, (the world’s third largest producer of the  crop), because of its southern latitude and gentle climate, and this immediately creates competitive advantages.” Experts believe that these factors, combined with Kosovo’s lower labor costs, create great marketing opportunities for local farmers.

Participants also visited a blueberry plantation located in the village of Kaljin/Kalin and Gnježdane/Gnezhdanë. The owner of the plantation in Kaljin/Kalin, Nazim Islamović, explained that the training is essential for growers, “So far, we have had neither access to technical knowledge, nor an opportunity to meet professional blueberry producer such as Rick. This training gives us hope and confidence to continue growing this fruit.” Each participant was also given a guidebook entitled, “Blueberries–Growing, Protection, and Processing,” published with support from the USAID.