N.S. backs apple orchard renewal plan

Nova Scotia’s government and apple industry will put up seven figures over the next six years to update over 400 acres of the province’s apple orchards with new varieties.

The apple sector will put $6.9 million into the program while the provincial ag department will put up a total of $2.2 million over six years, the province said Friday.

The plan, dubbed the Apple Industry Growth and Efficiency Program, will see about 455 acres of old orchards, or about 10 per cent of the provincial apple industry’s land base, replaced with newer variety apples.

Under the new program, eligible growers will get assistance with the initial capital investment and will help the sector replace older orchards with “higher-value” new varieties such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Ambrosia, Sonja and Pazazz, the province said.

The program is to be modelled after the earlier Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program, the province said. [Related story]

Robert Peill, president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association, said Friday the provincial funding “will help us to respond to market demands and increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace.”

Nova Scotia’s annual farm gate revenue from apples today sits at about $13 million, and “with the industry’s plans to innovate, significant gains are expected,” the province said. — AGCanada.com Network


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