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Canada considering national blueberry council


July 6, 2011
By Karen Fenske StratPoint Solutions

Topics

blueberries02July 6, 2011, Abbotsford, BC – The
B.C. Blueberry Council, along with the federal and provincial governments, is
working to establish a national highbush blueberry council, which would
facilitate producer prosperity, increase consumer awareness and equitable
contributions.

July 6, 2011, Abbotsford, BC – The
B.C. Blueberry Council, along with the federal and provincial governments, is
working to establish a national highbush blueberry council, which would
facilitate producer prosperity, increase consumer awareness and equitable
contributions.

Highbush
blueberry production is increasing and new domestic and global markets need to
be accessed. In 2005, B.C. produced 58 million pounds of highbush blueberries.
In 2010, total production was up to 90 million pounds and, by 2013, production
will be more than 120 million pounds. Though other provinces’ production rates
are less, they have almost doubled since 2005.

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An
equitable contribution system is needed to support industry growth. More than
40 per cent of the highbush blueberries sold in Canada are from importers who
do not share the costs of any of the promotion, marketing and research Canadian
growers do. Importers should make equal investments in the cost of building
highbush blueberry markets as they do, and will continue, to benefit from local
efforts.

B.C.
produces 94 per cent of all highbush blueberries in Canada. Ontario, Quebec and
Nova Scotia produce most of the remaining six per cent. Though the east coast
provinces produce primarily wild or lowbush blueberries, there is a growing
interest in highbush production.

Alberta,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba do not produce highbush blueberries. These could be potential
markets. With more domestic advertising and promotion, Canadians could buy more
of the product.

Consumers
want affordable products that are good for their health. Consumers need to be
informed about where to access healthy products, such as highbush blueberries.
At the same time, food prices have increased and adapting to this change has
put added importance on research and innovation if highbush blueberry growers
and processors want to remain competitive and profitable. Funds are needed for
promotion and value-chain development. 

Buyers
want new products that are delivered with low carbon footprints and in
recyclable packaging. Developing production methods that have low impacts on
the environment and climate change are part of a more competitive industry.
Value-added products can expand the market and gain value-chain efficiencies.
Funds are needed for these types of innovations.

Federal
and provincial government programs exist that require industry contributions.
However, to access these funds, organizations must have the capacity for sound
governance, organized reporting systems to aid in accountability, the ability
to measure performance, and to demonstrate transparency with practical
communication strategies. Infusing policy and structures that can provide a
sustainable industry requires collaboration among all stakeholders. 

As
part of the national organization open communication among all stakeholders
will result in immediate access to research results to initiate marketing. They
will have a seat on the national board to participate decision making by
providing input into the planning and implementation of council projects. They
will benefit from the research and promotion activities, with core money and
leveraged funds, which will expand all markets.

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more information, click here.