Growing in North Africa & the Middle East: Agadir- Morocco, Egypt, U.A.E.
Ultra-low chill growing regions in North Africa and the Middle East are more recent entrants to the blueberry industry serving Europe and the Middle East. Fall Creek has been involved in these areas since the ‘pioneering stage’ of development and has had the privilege of participating in the learning curve in this exciting part of the world. These low-to-no chill areas allow the utilization of newer growing techniques in more controlled environments within structures utilizing substrate and intensive fertigation systems. Plantings in these regions enter production sooner in the life cycle of the planting offering a quicker return on investment if appropriate considerations unique to blueberries are considered. In its natural state, this region is not an easy area to grow blueberries. Successful growers make appropriate investments in infrastructure, growing systems, plants, and genetics to succeed. The fruiting season begins very early and continues through spring, creating strong opportunities for growers who wish to provide a ‘closer fresher’ alternative to imported maritime fruit.
The zero chill areas, in combination with the right varieties and techniques, present opportunities to manipulate crop timing. This is particularly effective using genetics Fall Creek developed in it’s tropical low latitude breeding program in Mexico.
The growing regions here are the closest to the consumer market in their harvest window, which often means the fruit will be preferred by European supermarkets for quality reasons and for the short travel time. Planting in the Middle East may provide the opportunity to choose from several market options. Europe is the fastest growing consumer market near the Middle East.
Northern Africa and the Middle East have a tremendous opportunity to established with the newest proven varieties and appropriate growing technologies.