Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Nova Scotia blueberry farmers say season disaster


September 9, 2009
By The Canadian Press

Topics

blueberries02September 8, 2009,
Amherst, Nova Scotia – Blueberry producers across Nova Scotia’s Cumberland
County say they’re in the midst of a devastating year.

September 8, 2009,
Amherst, Nova Scotia – Blueberry producers across Nova Scotia’s Cumberland
County say they’re in the midst of a devastating year.

blueberries02 
  

With the blueberry season
nearing an end, farmers say they’re paying more to produce the crop than it’s
worth on the market.

Advertisment

Ralph Thompson, who has
about 40 hectares in production near Conns Mills, calls this year a “disaster.”

It costs farmers like
Thompson about 70 cents to produce a pound of blueberries, but he’s only
getting 35 cents for that pound.

Two years ago, producers
were receiving $1.05 a pound.

Thompson believes a lot of
smaller producers will walk away from their fields if prices don’t increase
soon.

John Bragg, the president
of Oxford Frozen Foods, says there’s no easy way to explain why prices are so
low.

“It’s very complicated
with many, many factors,” says Bragg, who owns the largest processor of wild
blueberries in North America.

“There are a thousand
factors that go into the mix, but it all comes down to supply and demand.”

The last year or so have
been good ones for blueberry crops with some producers harvesting as much as 50
per cent more berries.

Production in some areas
appears to be up again this year, but consumption is not.

Nova Scotia’s provincial
production is over 40 million pounds.