Elite Agro, an Abu Dhabi producer and distributor of fresh vegetables and fruits locally and regionally, will exclusively cultivate the world’s best blueberry varieties in the Middle East.

The agreement signed between Elite Agro LLC and Mountain Blue Orchards PTY Ltd, based in Australia, will see the introduction of blueberries bred and supplied by Mountain Blue Orchards to UAE farms first, before branching out to other countries in the Middle East.

Mountain Blue Orchards has a range of varieties to suit different climates and consumer taste.

Several varieties are bred for growing in tough climatic conditions like the Middle East. In the UAE, low tunnel greenhouses especially adapted to ensure the climatic needs of the varieties will be used in the cultivation of the crop.

"Blueberries are a super-fruit, rich in antioxidants which are important for fighting many diseases. We are very proud and excited to secure the rights to grow this important and valuable crop" said Saeed Al Bahri, Cluster Managing Director at Elite Agro after the signing of the agreement in Berlin.

Globally, the demand for blueberries continues to increase, including the Middle East, where all blueberries are currently flown in from countries as far away as Mexico.

According to Euromonitor, UAE consumers ate 1,200 tonnes of blueberries in 2014. There was a 7.6% total market consumption growth between 2014 and 2015.

Currently, the UAE is the largest consumer of blueberries per capita in the Middle East, and the turn towards healthy living maybe contributing to the increase in consumption.

Super and healthy foods are a part of burgeoning change in lifestyle in the UAE. In recent years, the incidence of diabetes and heart-related diseases have surged, mainly due to sedentary life-styles and high-caloric intake.