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Nova Scotia blueberry producers say low prices leading to disaster

September 11, 2009  By The Canadian Press


September
10, 2009, Amherst, NS – Blueberry producers across Nova Scotia’s Cumberland
County say they're in the midst of a devastating year.



September
10, 2009, Amherst, NS – Blueberry producers across Nova Scotia’s Cumberland
County say they're in the midst of a devastating year.

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

Nelson
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.


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