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September 6, 1996
(Forest Resources and Agrifoods)


People picking partridgeberries before the opening of the commercial season, in late September, has the Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods worried.

The provincial government is concerned it will lose export markets because the prematurely harvested fruit will contain partridgeberry fruitworm larva says Beaton Tulk. The premature harvesting does not allow sufficient time for the larva stage of the fruitworm, Grapholite libertine to mature and exit the berry. Importers of Newfoundland partridgeberries are very quality conscious and if the fruit is found to be contaminated with insects, markets could be lost.

In addition, color intensity and ideal berry weight have not been attained. Further, the storing of fruit of this nature until processing plants begin operations results in a poor quality raw product that has to be dumped. This creates a waste of a valuable resource and lost income to the provincial economy.

As for the crop itself, the minister stated that the crop is looking very good and could approach one million pounds which would be a record. This would provide a much needed boost to the economy through the influx of new offshore dollars generated by export sales. However, he reiterated that if premature harvesting continues production could be reduced significantly.

1996 09 06                          3:30 p.m.

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