Autumn arrives with abundance for three blueberry cultivators from Kosovo. In August 2018, three cultivators of blueberries in Kosovo obtained their first Global GAP certificates, which allows the companies to export fresh blueberries to European markets rights away.
These three companies, Blue Pearl, Santefruit and BerryKode are among the first cultivators of this crop to obtain the Global Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) certificate, which is part of the food safety standards for final consumers.
“The first question European buyers ask is ‘do you have the GAP certificate for the products’? This certification is the key that opens the doors for exporting fresh Kosovo blueberries” says Kujtim Lepaja from the association Mjedra e Kosoves that facilitated the certification process in collaboration with Swisscontact’s Promoting Private Sector employment project in Kosovo.
Apart from the impact the GAP certificate has on the individual producers, it is a good step forward for the blueberry cultivation sector in Kosovo in general. This sector is fairly new, as it started to develop in the last 3-4 years. Initially, the produce was destined for the local market. As the number of blueberry cultivators – and quantity produced – grew, the companies needed to address the bottleneck created and seek export markets. The recent certification of these three companies is a move in the right direction.