The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced over $971,000 in funding to Jasper Wyman & Son Canada Inc. under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriInnovate Program.
Minister MacAulay also announced an additional repayable contribution of $500,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency’s Business Development Program on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
This funding will be used to install new equipment to more efficiently and precisely sort produce, while removing up to 99 per cent of defective berries. The project will help Jasper Wyman & Son Canada Inc. grow exports and sales, increase processing capacity, reduce water and energy consumption and hire additional staff.
The Government of Prince Edward Island will provide a $194,000 grant through Innovation PEI to assist with the project.
“Companies like Jasper Wyman are working hard to bring innovative practices and techniques to their operations, ensuring they can bring their world class products to kitchen tables across the country, and jobs to Prince Edward Island. The government is proud to support projects that keep the processing sector on the cutting-edge," said Minister MacAulay.
Jasper Wyman & Son Canada Inc., including its parent company, makes up the second largest supplier of wild blueberries in the world. The company farms approximately 1,200 acres of wild blueberries in Canada.
“The Wyman’s family would like to thank Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Government of Prince Edward Island for their continued support of our quest to expand wild blueberry exports and create high-paying jobs in Canada. This investment will be used to fund state-of-the-art processing technology that will enhance our ability to meet ever-increasing global customer demands for exceptional quality. Through strong collaboration with both the federal and provincial governments, we have been able to continuously research and test innovative processing technologies in an attempt to deliver the highest quality wild blueberry product in the industry," said Robert Mancini, VP and chief financial officer, Jasper Wyman & Son.
In 2018 blueberries were Canada's most valuable fruit export making up 58 per cent of total fruit exports with a farm gate value of over $243 million.