By Victor Terekhov
Belarusian forests have always been known for their rich bilberry fields. This year, favourable weather and good prices (offered by purchasers for berry collection) have contributed to a rich harvest. As a result, in July, the country exported 1,200 tonnes of bilberries — double that of last July.
More supplies are expected, with at least 3,000 tonnes to be sold abroad by late 2011. From now on, Belarusian berries can be sold to European markets without going through the Baltic States, enjoyed by citizens from the UK, Austria, Finland, Poland and, even, China. Apart from bilberries, these and other countries are also interested in other kinds of frozen berries.
China plays a special role on the Belarusian bilberry market, planning to produce drugs from the berry; in the near future, 1,000 tonnes are to be supplied to a pharmaceutical company producing an eyesight improving extract. Two years ago, the firm bought our bilberries and has been pleased with the quality.