Truro, Nova Scotia, November 16, 2012 - Canada's wild blueberry industry will increase its international competitiveness thanks to an investment by the Harper Government. Member of Parliament Scott Armstrong (Cumberland–Colchester–Musquodoboit Valley), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today an investment for the Canadian division of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA Canada) to develop and enhance international markets for wild blueberries.
"Our Government is helping Canadian producers increase the volume of high-quality wild blueberry exports to target markets because we know trade creates jobs and economic growth," said MP Armstrong. "With this investment, WBANA Canada can undertake market research and promotion and attend key international trade shows to increase awareness of the value, quality, and diversity of Canadian wild blueberries."
Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of wild blueberries, and this investment of $700,000 will further strengthen the place of Canadian producers in the world market. In 2011, exports were valued at $199 million, making wild blueberries Canada's number-one fruit export. In rural communities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, wild blueberries contribute significantly to the agricultural industry, representing $86 million in farm-gate value in 2011.
"WBANA is very grateful for this federal government investment, which will help us develop new worldwide demand for Canadian wild blueberries," said John Cameron, Nova Scotia Industry Representative on WBANA Canada's Board. "The growth of new market demand means more production and more employment in many rural areas of eastern Canada. I don't think you could have a better partnership or a better example of how industry and government working together can accomplish positive results."
This Growing Forward investment, made through the AgriMarketing Program, reinforces why federal, provincial, and territorial governments recently identified market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2. The new five-year (2013-2018) agreement includes investments in strategic initiatives of over $3 billion for innovation, competitiveness, and market development plus generous multi-year funding for risk management programs.
Today's announcement is part of an $88-million investment provided through the AgriMarketing Program, which helps industry implement long-term international strategies that will enhance the sector's marketing capacity, innovation, and competitiveness. The Program also integrates the Canada Brand strategy, which is designed to help the sector differentiate itself from key competitors and provide a competitive advantage in international markets. To find out more about the AgriMarketing Program, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/agrimarketing.