Jackie Wilson Asheeke

I am no longer blue. I am Namib Blue and that makes all the difference.

With all the fishrots, pandemics, fires, IMF loans and whatever else, there is finally something to smile about. And today…that is NAMIB BLUE.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the Namibian grown blueberry.

“Namib Blue is fresh, with a sweet-sour to very sweet berry taste. Blueberries are one of the superfoods with a very high demand and provide an opportunity to export and earn foreign currency,” says Henriëtte Le Grange, Sales and Marketing Chief at Mashare Irrigation and Mashare Berries.

According to a statement issued by Cherry Irrigations, Namibia’s first commercially significant blueberry harvest is taking place close to the Okavango River between the Mashare and Mupapama villages in Kavango East (bravo for providing jobs where they are desperately needed!)

To grow the berries in semi-arid Namibia, water is an issue. Kavango East makes a great location for this project. Technology, some daring agricultural entrepreneurs at Mashare Farming and GIPF’s keen investment eye made it happen.

Cherry Irrigation designed and implemented the fully automated drip irrigation and fertigation management system for the blueberry farm.

As reported in other newspapers, Namibian manager of Cherry Irrigation, Willem Mostert, said the quality of the fruit harvested so far has been exceptional.

Mashare Berries farming project director Albert Basson said the harvest for this year is set to continue into late October.

Namibian blueberries will be sold locally and internationally.

Let us all shed the blues (pun intended) and grasp the BLUE. Our naturally Namibian fruit can boost our health, lift our spirits and create tasty stuff in the kitchen.

We all should know that aside from the economic boost blueberries could offer over the next several years to cash strapped Namibia, there is a health boost that must be advertised! Blueberries are a super food. The blessed little blue orbs are low in calories and fat yet are vitamin and mineral dynamos. Your waistline will thank you for eating blueberries.

According to www.healthline.com and nutritiondata.self.com, the little blue dynamos are low in calories and “incredibly healthy, potentially regulating blood sugar levels and aiding heart and brain health. They are an excellent source of several vitamins, beneficial plant compounds, and antioxidants.”

Blueberries are a member of the heather family and related to cranberries and huckleberries.

Blueberries are pleasant when eaten fresh. They can be used in a variety of baked goods, jams, and jellies, as well as for flavouring

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of raw blueberries has 57 calories, Water: 84 percent, Protein: 0.7 grams, Carbs: 14.5 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Fibre: 2.4 grams, and almost no fat – only 0.3 grams.

Most of the carbs in the berries come from simple sugars like glucose and fructose.

These berries have a relatively low score of 53 on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly certain foods raise blood sugar levels. People with diabetes can enjoy a reasonable amount of blueberries.

Blueberries are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including: Vitamin K1. This nutrient is mostly involved in blood clotting; Vitamin C. This vitamin should be well known. It is an antioxidant important for skin health and immune function; Manganese. This essential mineral is needed for normal amino acid, protein, lipid, and carbohydrate metabolism.

Blueberries also contain small amounts of vitamin E, vitamin B6, and copper.

Antioxidants give blueberries their color and may reduce your risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and could be useful in preventing and managing cancer and diabetes.

What more should be said? This first harvest is about 150 tons, which is great considering they only farmed on 20 hectares! Now imagine when they really gear up and plant massive amounts.

Namibia, the land of diamonds, fish, tourism, karakul, beer, grapes, organic meat, and Big Ben the talented singer, will also be known as the land of the Blueberry. How exciting!