KENTVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA – The Government of Canada is helping Nova Scotia’s tree fruit and grape industries by investing up to $2.3 million to help growers meet changing market demand. This funding builds on $1.5 million in provincial initiatives already in place to revitalize the sectors.
The announcement was made today by Gerald Keddy, Member of Parliament for South Shore- St. Margaret’s and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, and Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources David Morse, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture Brooke Taylor.
“The Government of Canada is delivering real action for tree fruit and grape growers as they adapt to new market realities,” said Mr. Keddy. “We are pleased to be working with the Province of Nova Scotia and industry to help growers make the move to more profitable and viable varieties that will allow them to better compete both at home and in the global marketplace.”
“Nova Scotia’s tree fruit and grape industries are showing vision and leadership as they adjust to changing consumer preferences and become more competitive and profitable,” said Minister Morse. “We are making a strategic, long-term investment that will help revitalize and grow these two industries.”
The federal Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program in Nova Scotia, which runs until 2011, will help cover some of the costs associated with removing fruit trees or vines in order to plant new varieties and other crops. The program will also help commodity organizations develop long-term marketing and production plans.
The Nova Scotia government has committed $1.5 million in support of the tree fruit and grape and wine sectors in recent years, including the Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program that is helping commercial apple growers in Nova Scotia replant orchards with the popular new variety.
Producers who participate in the Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program will have to commit to keeping the land available for agriculture for five years.
More details will be provided to growers and industry groups on the application process this Spring, once program delivery has been finalized.
Canada-Nova Scotia Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program
The $2.3 million Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program (OVTP), which runs until 2011, will allow Nova Scotia tree fruit and grape growers or industry groups to apply for funding to help cover some of the costs associated with removing fruit trees or vines, and to develop strategic commodity plans.
Producers with half a hectare or more of tree fruit or grape vines will be eligible for the OVTP if they commit to keeping the land available to agriculture for five years.
Eligible producers who have removed fruit trees or vines as of October 25, 2007 or later, will receive financial assistance of up to $4,000 per hectare to cover some of the costs of removing plant stock.
The program includes $96,000 for Nova Scotia’s tree fruit and grape industries to plan for the future and take advantage of new opportunities. Industry associations can apply to fund studies to help the association and their members improve the long-term profitability of growers.
A Program Committee made up of provincial and federal representatives will be formed to select a delivery agent for the Program. Once the delivery agent is chosen, likely this Spring, more details will be provided to growers and industry groups on the application process.
Federal funding for the OVTP is in addition to the $1.5 million in provincial initiatives, including the Honeycrisp Orchards Renewal Program (HCORP) announced by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in November, 2005. The five-year HCORP is a province-wide apple replant program administered by the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association. Over 600 acres of Honeycrisp apple trees are expected to be planted over the life of the HCORP.
In 2006, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada committed $201,734 to the apple industry in Nova Scotia, under the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) Program, for a three-year Honeycrisp apple research study that will contribute to the successful marketing of the Honeycrisp apple domestically and abroad. The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture contributed $40,000 to the study, under their Technical Development Program.
Nova Scotia’s apple industry has an estimated gate value of $10 million and contributes over $50 million in economic activity to the province. The HoneycrispTM is the apple variety that will be replacing some of the older apple varieties like the McIntosh. It is a popular new variety that grows well in Nova Scotia. The Annapolis Valley’s unique climate of warm days and cool nights produces the highest quality Honeycrisp. Economic returns on the Honeycrisp can be four times that of conventional varieties. On-going research on the Honeycrisp at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre in Kentville has put Nova Scotia on the leading edge world-wide for managing, growing, harvesting and storing the Honeycrisp.
The Nova Scotia wine industry has grown substantially since the first commercial vineyards were planted in Grand Pre in the mid 1970s. The province’s nine farm wineries and 22 commercial grape growers contribute over $6.9 million in economic activity to the province, with local wines now capturing 8.7 per cent of total wine sales in Nova Scotia. There are now about 160 hectares (400 acres) of grape vines in Nova Scotia and an additional 40 to 60 hectares (100 to 150 acres) are expected to be planted in 2008. Nova Scotia has several distinct grape growing regions and the industry expects to have more than 400 hectares (1,000 acres) in production by 2020. Nova Scotia’s signature grape varieties are L’Acadie Blanc and NY Muscat. On-going grape breeding research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre in Kentville has identified six promising white-wine varieties that could thrive in Nova Scotia’s unique climate.