KENTVILLE, NS – Kings North MLA and farmer John Lohr says the Liberals must do more to help our blueberry industry survive low prices.
“It’s going to be a tough year for many growers,” says Lohr. “A cold spring during pollination plus a summer drought means both low production in Nova Scotia plus low prices. It’s a double whammy for Nova Scotian producers and we need a plan from our government today.”
Lohr says the federal government could help by negotiating a fairer trade deal with China. Currently, there is a 47 per cent tariff on our blueberry imports into China. Chile, also a major blueberry exporting nation, has zero tariff.
Lohr adds that Premier McNeil, who is currently on an 11 day mission to Asia, should join the Official Opposition in standing up for the blueberry industry.
“The Premier claims he is traveling to Asia to help support Nova Scotia businesses and export, so let’s see it,” says Lohr. “Fighting to lift the tariff in China is one way the Premier could show he’s actually serious about helping Nova Scotian jobs.”
Lohr says the provincial government could also help by assisting growers to develop valued added blueberry products.
“Our food processing industry has taken several hits recently with plant closures and it seems there has been very little real response from the Minister of Agriculture,” says Lohr. “Helping blueberry growers diversify their markets and get higher returns for their crops would be a good idea.”
Agricultural development is one of the key goals of the Ivany Report and blueberries are a key agricultural product for rural Nova Scotia.