Aiming to defray some of the high start-up costs of cranberry production, Newfoundland and Labrador’s government is taking applications for funding under a new cranberry industry development program.
The program, announced in the province’s 2008 budget, is funded up to $2.95 million for 2008-09, the government said in a release Wednesday.
The cranberry program is meant to help develop the industry from a research and development phase through the commercialization phase. Eligible applicants can get $15,000 per acre for up to 10 acres per year (thus setting the maximum funding per applicant at $150,000 per year). More details are expected to soon be available online.
Developing cranberry production sites “is an expensive venture and requires significant upfront investment on the part of the developer,” said Kathy Dunderdale, minister for the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, in the release.
“It’s estimated that costs range in the area of $30,000 to $35,000 to develop one acre of land for cranberry production,” she said.
Officials with Natural Resources, also Dunderdale’s department, are to meet with cranberry industry participants over the next few weeks to explain details of the new program, the province said.
Applications will be reviewed by an industry development committee made up of Forestry and Agrifoods Agency officials. Farmers, food processors, sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations and co-operatives operating in Newfoundland and Labrador are all eligible to apply, the province said.
Applications must include a business plan, documentation of legal entitlement to land, the necessary permits for the site and financial statements for the last three years.
Quality of fruit
The province said its producers harvested 300,000 pounds of cranberries, worth about $225,000 in farm gate value, in 2007, up from a 280,000-pound harvest in 2006.
Based on the province’s research and development work in this area since 1999, “it appears the quality of the cranberry crop produced in this province is as good, or even better than, that of other jurisdictions,” the province said. “Commercialization of the province’s cranberry industry is the next logical step in the development of the crop.”
The island portion of the province now has five cranberry development sites: Terra Nova, Deadman’s Bay, Stephenville Crossing (Route 490), Stephenville (White’s Road) and Frenchman’s Cove (Burin Peninsula).