Flexible Financing Helps Grow More Wild Blueberries
New government financing is helping wild blueberry producers grow their businesses.
Agriculture Minister Greg Morrow highlighted the Wild Blueberry Business Enhancement program at the industry association’s annual general meeting in Truro Thursday, November 17.
“This program was designed by wild blueberry growers, for wild blueberry growers,” said Minister Morrow. “We want more Nova Scotians to choose local foods and doing that means producing more. This program from the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board helps producers get the equipment and land they need to do just that.”
The Wild Blueberry Business Enhancement program helps growers buy equipment, improve production on existing sites and develop new land. Loans have flexible terms, like deferred and interest-only payments, and competitive rates.
There were about 630 wild blueberry producers, who managed more than 15,370 hectares (38,000 acres), in 2021.
The Wild Blueberry Business Enhancement program from the farm loan board is the type of innovative lending solution Nova Scotia’s blueberry producers need to help them expand operations and better serve the growing market.
Peter Burgess, Executive Director, Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia
The Wild Blueberry Business Enhancement program helped us to grow our wild blueberry business. The farm loan board is responding to industry’s needs with these flexible lending options. This will really help support growth in the sector.
John and Crystal Cameron, wild blueberry producers, Aigas Farms Limited, East River St. Marys, Pictou County
- the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board has provided $9.3 million in financing to wild blueberry growers, $5 million of which has been advanced since 2020
- about 23.7 million kilograms of wild blueberries were harvested in Nova Scotia in 2021, a 37.5 per cent increase from 2020
- wild blueberries were Nova Scotia’s highest-value international agri-food export in 2021 at close to $123 million – 31 per cent of the total value of the province’s agri-food exports
Wild Blueberry Business Enhancement program: https://www.novascotia.ca/farmloan/blueberry/
Wild Blueberry Producers Association of Nova Scotia: https://nswildblueberries.com/