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IBA 2020 – an update

This is the time of the year when all of our members look forward to meeting within the blackcurrant family. As announced in a short message in March, we had to cancel the International Blackcurrant Association’s conference for this year, though. Meetings are undesirable these days. The Corona Virus SARS-CoV 2 has put a halt to many events, projects and developments in 2020 – the IBA does not make an exception. We plan and hope for a blackcurrant conference in better and safer conditions for June 2021 in Ukraine.

But as blackcurrant is known for its high Vitamin C content, will there be opportunities for the blackcurrant sector?

Corona – Blackcurrant

coronavirusWhen I announced big changes for the IBA in December last year, I was far from thinking of the crisis that affects the whole world today. It leads to recession, unemployment and a global feeling of insecurity. Of course, this influences our projects for the near future. In our agriculture businesses, some growers employ harvest workers from other countries – and may not be able to employ them this year, or only with difficulties, because borders are closed.

Hopefully, this is the only direct consequence of the Corona crisis. Indirect consequences may be heavier, though. We cannot yet imagine what life and economy will be like in a few months. The fact is that the purchasing power is declining, many businesses go bankrupt, the food industry together with restaurants and caterers (which are also our final clients) make no exception.blackcurrant clusterBut blackcurrant is a superfruit. Isn’t it the right moment to talk about its benefits? Not that it is a remedy to any disease. Yet, it is a healthy fruit with lots of potential. Maybe there is a chance for good marketing of our beloved little berry among the end product manufacturers?

The IBA moved to Europe

Within the IBA, we have managed to lay the basis for a new way of working in the “new” IBA before the crisis. The International Blackcurrant Association founded in New Zealand in 2008 has been wound up. Immediately after, the same “old” members have re-founded the “new” International Blackcurrant Association. It is now based in France, in Angers where the last conference took place. Our General Manager – and thus the administration of the IBA – is in Strasbourg, the capital of Europe. Not a bad location – as we hope to be able to conduct European projects. And we will see how we can include other countries like New Zealand and Ukraine in these projects. Because our vision is not to forget all our members: only together, we are strong!

Blackcurrants this year?

Nevertheless, the current situation makes it difficult to foresee and plan. Still, we are trying these days to collect information from our partners all over the world about this year’s harvest conditions. There has been spring frost and drought in some regions, and we know from growers who have decreased their production. Many factors have influenced blackcurrant growing over the past years, and will continue to keep the whole sector in a move. Thus, it is important to keep an eye on the developments in every country.

Harvest forecast 2020

extract of an Excel sheet, title: global IBA statisticsWe will inform our members about the results of our survey on our homepage. These statistics will be updated regularly over the season with the real figures that we collect. Stay connected!

Later this year, we hope to be able to open registrations for the international conference 2021 in Ukraine. It is planned to take place from 1st to 4th June 2021 in Lviv.

Until then, stay safe and keep using blackcurrant products full of vitamin C to strengthen your immune system!

Jens Holme Pedersen

IBA President