Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association president Rob Peill
A new partnership between government and apple growers will encourage innovation through orchard renewal.
The new Apple Industry Growth and Efficiency Program will see about 455 acres of old orchards replaced with newer variety apples. This represents about 10 per cent of the apple industry's land base. This new initiative is modelled after the earlier, and highly successful, Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program.
"This program will help apple growers to replant their orchards with new, higher value varieties that will help the industry to innovate, grow and be more profitable," Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell said May 16.
The sector is investing $6.9 million into the program, with the Department of Agriculture contributing a total of $2.2 million over the next six years.
"I'm very pleased that government is able to support the efforts of a thriving, innovative industry on an equitable and sector-wide basis," Premier Stephen McNeil said. "Government firmly believes that this type of approach is the way to promote economic activity in all parts of Nova Scotia."
The new program assists growers with their initial capital investment and will help the sector replace older orchards with higher value, new apple varieties such as Honeycrisp, Gala, Ambrosia, Sonja and Pazazz.
"The Nova Scotia apple industry is known worldwide for its high-quality apples," said Robert Peill, president of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association. "This investment by the provincial government will help us to respond to market demands and increase our competitiveness in the global marketplace."
Support for export-oriented industries like the apple sector is a key recommendation of the Ivany Commission. Currently in Nova Scotia, the farm gate revenue of apples is $13 million per year and with the industry's plans to innovate, significant gains are expected.