N.S. sweetens orchard renewal program

A program encouraging Nova Scotia apple producers to replant orchards this year with more profitable varieties will get an extra $200,000 from the province.

Nova Scotia’s orchard renewal program aims to help growers replant to varieties with “high rates of return in the marketplace” such as honeycrisp, gala and ambrosia.

The honeycrisp orchard renewal program began in 2005 with a commitment of $1.175 million, followed last year by another $235,000 from the province to meet growers’ demand.

“More than 129,000 apple trees have been planted in the province since this extremely successful program was launched five years ago,” Agriculture Minister Mark Parent said in a release Wednesday announcing the latest top-up to the program.

“Based on a strong strategy developed by the Fruit Growers Association and the tremendous response from industry, the association is working to emphasize the profitable aspects of several new varieties of apples.”

Nova Scotia’s apple industry generates about $50 million, the province said, through an orchard sector composed primarily of small- and medium-sized enterprises in the agriculture and food industry and “well-positioned to grow local and export markets.”

“This program has allowed the apple industry to grow during an economically challenging period, and remain a leader in Canada,” said Dela Erith, executive director of the Kentville-based Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association, in the province’s release.

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