Elite Agro brings UAE’s only locally grown blueberries back to the market

Elite Agro (EAG), a leading UAE producer and distributor of fresh produce, is bringing the only locally-grown blueberries back to the market to meet the growing demand for this popular superfood.

Elite Agro’s premium brand of ‘Elite Berry’ blueberries brings four exclusive varieties to the region, including the famous jumbo blueberry named “Eureka”. They are grown at Al Foah farm which covers an area of ​​12 hectares with 20 greenhouses, each housing 3,350 blueberry plants that thrive in a climate-controlled environment enabled by state-of-the-art automated technology.

Blueberries were first planted in 2017 at Elite Agro’s Al Foah Farm with the aim to supply the local market with locally-grown produce that exponentially reduces the farm-to-shelf time, retaining flavor and freshness. At their Al Ain farm, the company is implementing solutions that bring nature and technology together in a partnership that delivers optimal yield and high-quality produce through sustainable farming.

“We are extremely proud of our success in growing fresh, local, and high-quality blueberries which our customers have grown to love in the UAE. This harvest season, our farmers at Al Foah will be handpicking blueberries from over 65,000 plants, all sustainably grown and naturally pollinated by our colony of bees,” said Ian Summerfield, Elite Agro CEO.

Elite Agro uses bumblebees as a natural method of pollination and increasing the harvest. It also uses precision irrigation technology with advanced water-saving capabilities to make micro irrigation through a drip system more accessible, less labor-intensive, and consequently, more cost-effective. A unique combination of fertilisers are distributed through this system by mixing it with the water.

The blueberry saplings are planted in a growing medium, which is a combination of coco peat, perlite and other substances, explicitly created for blueberries. The growth of individual plants is nurtured by regular soil and foliage analysis.

“We’re taking sustainable blueberry farming techniques to a new level in a country dominated by the desert, and the results have been phenomenal,” remarked Summerfield.

Showcasing a successful track record of harvest and supplying high-quality blueberries from January to May, the company is expected to grow its 2022 output to 280 tons of blueberries, compared to 210 tons in 2021. The significantly ramped-up crop will be harvested during A 14-week period to ensure consumers can obtain the freshest locally-grown blueberries from neighborhood retailers.

Additionally, to meet the increasing demand, the company aims to increase production capacity by adding 13 hectares of greenhouse space dedicated to growing 72,000 plants for the 2023 crop harvest.

“Our expansion plan is underlined by the success and demand for our newly-rebranded ‘Elite Berry’ brand which provides the freshest and best-quality blueberries in the country. With our state-of-the-art growing and distribution techniques, we guarantee a two-hand touch approach – which means no one touches the blueberries after the picker and before the consumer – combined with an efficient packing and delivery process,” Summerfield added .

Blueberries have been gaining popularity as a ‘superfood’, because they are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels among common fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that damage cells and contribute to aging and diseases.

Customers can buy Elite Berry Blueberries from leading retailers including Spinneys, Carrefour or order online at farmbox.ae.

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