By Amy Woolvett
THE COAST GUARD
An economic development project is aiming to attract blueberry, cranberry and grape harvesters to the area.
The Agriculture Climate Data Project involves five prime growing areas including Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Yarmouth and Digby counties. The five counties will be sharing the cost of the project.
The regional project is being led by the southwest Nova Community Business Development Corporations (CBDC) and will gather important, detailed climate information for the agriculture sector, including the cranberry and blueberry sector.
“We are not building a cranberry farm but we are instead designing the tools to help cranberry growers,” said Cindy Embree a representative from CBDC.
The data collected including moisture readings, temperature and climate will help potential growers and growers already in the area to make the most success out of their business.
“The goal is to make the place ready so that growers can have a successful business,” said Embree.
Because of the areas potential in growing cranberries and blueberries companies in the past have eyed the Shelburne area for harvesting.
According to Kirk Cox, chief executive officer for the Municipality of Shelburne one major producer of cranberries passed up the opportunity to grow here because of provincial regulations and a lack of capital funding.
“They decided to go to New Brunswick where they got both support and resources,” he said. “Nova Scotia and New Brunswick took two different approaches to the idea of cranberries in their province…and the result is that New Brunswick now has thousands of acres of cranberry production and we don’t.”
This new project is hoping to turn the tides on that and allow for an easier set up process for growers.
“If you want to have business for the area you can’t just wish them,” said Embree.