World news – African Union – The blueberry industry faces a crisis over trade rights


Cape Town – The blueberry industry, one of the Western Cape’s fastest growing horticultural industries, in terms of hectares planted and total production value, could be in jeopardy due to an intellectual property dispute, according to Berries Association of South African Berry Producers, Berries ZA

A dispute between Ross Berries, one of the largest blueberry growers in the country, and United Exports, the Australian registered owner of plant breeders’ rights, resulted in Dutch customs seizing two shipments of blueberries last week. Rosle Group Companies, itself a division of the Rossouw Farming Group

Last week, Dutch customs officials confiscated a container of 20 pallets of 3kg carton boxes of premium cranberry fruit in Rotterdam, which was said to have been intended for distribution and sale in the European Union without permission from United Exports

Berries ZA President Justin Midge said: “Berries ZA understands that these seizures are the result of an intellectual property dispute between a local grower and the plant breeder rights holder. We are confident that the parties to the current conflict will follow legal procedures and act in accordance with the law, recognizing that their behavior affects the reputation of the entire South African industry ”

United Exports Group founder Roger Horack said: “Ross Berries, a Rossouw Farming Group company, was attempting to export fruit in blatant disregard and abuse of property rights to United Exports, which holds the community plant diversity rights in OZblu’s blueberry plants and fruits in The European Union and around the world The customs authority of the European Union has notified the authorities at all points of entry across the European Union to monitor the import of blueberries in South Africa to prevent further infringement of United Exports’ intellectual property rights in relation to OZblu blueberry plants and fruits « 

Charles Russo, CEO of Rosle Group, said: “After the recent confiscation of the blueberries, we have attempted further negotiations with United and Rosle and Ross Berries have agreed to sell the remaining berries for this season to United Exports on the proposed terms and prices. The basis for these negotiations was the release of blueberries confiscated in the Netherlands.

« Ross Perry and Russell wish to clarify, however, that they continue to contest United’s claims regarding United’s rights in the so-called OzBlu blueberry varieties, and in particular, United’s claim that it has the right » to sell blueberries produced by our customers. Russo said these allegations are It has no legal basis and is just part of a wider effort by United to control the entire supply chain of these blueberry varieties in South Africa (and indeed internationally) and by setting fruit prices.

“Rosle and Ross Berries acquired ownership of blueberry plants on their farms when they bought these plants from United Exports (South Africa) and said that these producers are legally entitled to export and sell the fruits of those plants to whom they want without the authority or approval required under South African laws. And Europe « 

Blueberry, South Africa, Berry

World News – Australia – Blueberry industry faces grief over a dispute over trading rights
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