Blueberries producers in Quebec are expecting a loss of up to 80%
Marc Larouche, President of the Quebec blueberry producers Union says that this year will not be as bad as 2013 when they harvested only 24 million pounds, “If we reach 50 million pounds, we will be happy, but it is not exceptional”, 69 million pounds was harvested in 2014.
Solutions need to be explored to help farmers over the next few years, as they annually lose an average of between 40-50% due to frost.
“Some protection methods exist, such as irrigation systems, but they are significant investments. Wind-break hedgerows are not completely effective either if they are not fully mature”.
Some producers, if they are insured, can be compensated in part for their loss by the Financière Agricole, yet Mr Larouche explains that that only covers a part of their expenses.
The good news for blueberry lovers is that the season will begin on time, handpicking will begin over the next two weeks and the producers harvest should begin before mid-August. ■