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Virus damages 40 per cent NS’s strawberry crops


June 6, 2013
By The Canadian Press

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June 6, 2013, Halifax, NS – Nova Scotia’s agriculture minister says at least 40 per cent of the province’s strawberry industry has been damaged by an insect-borne virus.

John MacDonell says the destructive virus spread by aphids is centred in the Debert area but has also been detected in the Annapolis Valley.

MacDonell estimates that the virus has taken 40 to 50 per cent out of the $18 million per year industry.

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The affected plants aren’t harmful to eat but they are often stunted and can’t be sold, and berries may disappear from the plant.

MacDonell says there is a federal-provincial disaster relief program that the province has applied for, but it will be a month before a decision comes from Ottawa.

He says farmers are applying sprays to control the aphids that spread the virus.