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Finnish blueberries hit in China

China wants to purchase millions of kilos of the indigo-coloured berries, but a lack of picking manpower is hurting berry exports.

Mustikoita poimitaan.
The Finnish Forest Research Institute says blueberries are ripe for picking in southern and central Finland's forests. Image: Seppo Nykänen / Yle

Finnish blueberries and lingonberries are popular abroad, but a dearth of pickers is causing companies to be unable to meet demand.

"I got an email from China a while back," says Tommi Anttila from the Satakunta chapter of the association of fruit and berry farmers. "They would have wanted 5 million kilos of blueberries."

The Netherlands, Germany and Austria have meanwhile expressed interest in buying Finnish lingonberries, which are also in high domestic demand.

"We could sell all the lingonberries we could pick, but there aren't enough pickers," he says.

This season will see a total of 3,000 foreign berry and mushroom pickers, many of them from Thailand.

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