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N.B. wild blueberry production expanding

By News May 5, 2023 | 6:23 AM

Wild blueberry production has become a major industry in northeastern New Brunswick and it is about to get bigger thanks to former military land which was transferred to the province in the 1990s.

Following a request for proposals, the Department of Agriculture has offered leases to twenty local growers to develop wild blueberries in the former Tracadie Range.

About 70 percent of wild blueberry production in New Brunswick is in the Acadian Peninsula.

“We are fortunate to have wild blueberries growing naturally in the northeastern part of our province. We look forward to responsibly developing wild blueberries on the range,” said Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson.

“Conservation is a high priority, and forested wildlife corridors will be in place in targeted zones as well as buffers that are larger than required around waterways and roadways. Once completed, this project could serve as a model for sustainable wild blueberry development in North America.”

A report prepared for the provincial association NB Blueberries noted the industry could generate more than $600 million in economic activity over the next 12 years.

“The development is important for us and our community,” said Bernard Savoie, owner of Services Agricoles Savoie Ltd.

“The Acadian Peninsula should be proud to have such a valuable resource. We want our children to stay in our community. We are offering them an opportunity to do just that.”

The industry is the province’s second largest horticultural commodity with farm cash receipts over a five-year period averaging $40 million.

“As a major industry in the northeastern region of New Brunswick, wild blueberry operations support employment, income and generate spending in the area’s economy which helps increase income levels within our local communities,” said Donald Arseneault, executive director of NB Blueberries.

“We congratulate the local growers who received lease offer letters and we look forward to working with them and the Government of New Brunswick on moving the project forward.”

The Department of National Defence transferred the Tracadie Range, once used for military training and weapons exercises, to the province in 1997.


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