Canada: Losses of up to 80% in blueberries in Quebec
The blueberry season has started, but the harvest will not be as abundant as last year. Some growers north of Lake Saint-Jean even expect a loss of up to 80% due to the frost and wind that occurred last winter. Marc Larouche, president of the Quebec blueberry growers union, says this year won't be as bad as 2013, when they harvested just 11 million kilos. “If we reach 23 millions of kilos, we can be satisfied, but it is not an exceptional amount“. In 2014, 31 million kilos were harvested.
Solutions need to be explored to help farmers in the coming years, as they lose an average of 40-50% annually due to frost. “There are some protection methods, such as irrigation systems, but they involve significant investments. Windbreak hedges are not entirely effective if they are not fully mature“. Some growers, if they have insurance, can receive compensation for their losses from Financière Agricole, although Larouche explains that this only covers a portion of their expenses.
The good news for blueberry lovers is that the season will start on time. Manual harvesting will begin in the next two weeks and harvest should begin before mid-August.
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