New Brunswick Blueberry Sector Supported
MONCTON – The New Brunwick Government has released the New Brunswick Wild Blueberry Sector Strategy, a new five-year strategy to support producers in keeping pace with the growing worldwide demand for wild blueberries.
“Wild blueberries are unique to northeastern North America and demand for them is growing around the world due to their health benefits,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp. “This strategy is aimed at ensuring our blueberry producers can keep up with world-wide demand while supporting companies and individuals that want to diversify or grow into the value-added food and bio-products sector.”
Developing the Framework for Wild Blueberries
To keep pace with demand, New Brunswick must develop at least 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of wild blueberries on both private and Crown lands. More than 2,300 hectares (5,600 acres) of Crown land will be made available to local producers for wild blueberry production on the Acadian Peninsula during the next 24 months. There are currently 13,200 hectares (33,000 acres) in production in the province.
In Ontario, a search of the provincial government website www.ontario.ca for ‘Blueberries’ generates 18 responses. They are all for recipes for blueberries.
In New Brunswick, new funding for access roads and common water wells was also announced in support of the strategy. The province is investing $600,000 during the next two fiscal years to support both initiatives.
The new Common Agricultural Water Source Development Program provides assistance to wild blueberry producers to establish common water wells. Any group of five producers or more who manage a combined area of 100 hectares (247 acres) or greater, within a five-kilometre radius, are eligible.
“Access to capital and infrastructure for blueberry land, which is often in remote sites, were identified in the strategy as challenges facing the industry,” said Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud, who is also minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation. “The upgrading of access roads, and the new program to develop common wells, will ensure the continued long-term growth of the blueberry sector.”