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Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
March 25, 2011

Cranberry Farmers in Central Region Look to Harvest Greater Yield

Cranberry farmers in the central region, with an $84,667 investment from the Provincial Government, are set to access industry training that will help build the capacity of the emerging sector.

“Newfoundland and Labrador’s cranberry industry is still relatively new,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. “Through training and skills-development, farmers will be able to secure important knowledge and apply best-practice techniques that will ultimately lead to increased productivity. The commitment of local cranberry farmers to access such training bodes well for the future of the sector in the region.”

Minister Sullivan was joined by officials from the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor and Exploits Valley Economic Development Corporation (EVEDC) at the town hall in Grand Fall-Windsor in announcing the funding.

“We are so pleased with the progress that is being made in this initiative and we acknowledge our Provincial Government for their investment and confidence in this sector,” said Al Hawkins, Mayor, Town of Grand Falls-Windsor. “We are confident that this industry will grow to be a sustainable and viable operation in the central region. We anxiously await other opportunities that will come to this area as we grow the cranberry industry.”

The EVEDC, the region’s economic development board, is also a partner in the initiative. It believes that taking steps to connect local farmers with industry expertise is essential in maximizing the sector’s economic potential in the region.

"The EVEDC is pleased to partner with industry and the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor to further economic growth and opportunities throughout the region,” said Todd Mercer, Executive Director, EVEDC. “Most importantly, this announcement will allow the dissemination of information and training related to the industry to be funnelled province-wide and will take the cranberry industry in the Exploits Valley to the next level."

Delivered by College of the North Atlantic, the training will address a variety of areas including construction and equipment, business management, and marketing. Cranberry farmers will also meet directly with others employers in the sector and observe successful cranberry farms and facilities in the United States.

“In collaboration with community officials and private industry, the cranberry industry has been identified as holding significant growth potential in the central region,” said Minister Sullivan. “Today’s announcement builds on the more than $2 million that was previously invested in the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor to begin the pre-commercialization of the industry. By supporting the vision of our partners we are helping to develop a successful cluster of cranberry farms, which invites new opportunities for the area’s economy.”

This initiative was funded through the Workplace Skills Enhancement Program. Administered by the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, this program helps small and medium-sized enterprises in strategic sectors acquire and increase the skills of employees to enhance productivity and global competitiveness. It is funded by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Agreement and the Strategic Training and Transition Fund.

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Media contacts:

Scott Barfoot
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290
Al Hawkins
Town of Grand Falls-Windsor
Todd Mercer
Executive Director
Exploits Valley Economic Development Corporation

2011 03 25             10:55 a.m.

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