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Agriculture

Cranberries: the bitter berry that offers a sweet taste of success

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Cranberries: the bitter berry that offers a sweet taste of success

Cranberries have been a staple at family gatherings ever since Indigenous people introduced the bitter berry to European colonists in the 15th century. Now they warm the hearts of millions of Canadians, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Quebec’s cool climate and short growing season allow organic cranberries to thrive in the region.

Cranberries are traditionally sweetened and cooked or dried to reduce some of their tartness so they won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. For many Quebec producers, the bitter berry offers a sweet taste of success.

North American cranberry harvesting began in the early 18th century and has developed over the years to the point where Quebec cultivated acreage now includes more than 10,145 acres, of which 3,944 acres are organic. With one-third of Quebec’s production being organic, the province is now the global leader in organic cranberry production. The province scores second for non-organic production after Wisconsin, United States.

The cranberry industry has faced several challenges in the last decade. The most significant challenge has been oversupply leading to price pressures for growers. Despite profitability challenges, Quebec cultivated acres climbed 79 per cent between 2009 and 2019, reaching 65 per cent of the total Canadian production. In 2019, British Columbia accounted for 29 per cent of the Canadian market and Ontario and the Atlantic provinces round out the cultivated acres in Canada.

 

Cranberry cultivated acres in Quebec and British Columbia

Source: Statistics Canada

The productive bogs in B.C. are challenged by the mild winters, which makes weed control a constant battle. However, when all conditions are favourable, B.C. produces a high-quality berry.

Cranberries can be eaten in many forms: fresh, dry, in sauce, jam, juice or in capsules. The demand for organic dried cranberries is strong. A consensus among producers is the growth prospects are good and acres are expected to increase year over year, but at a slower pace than in the last decade.

Vincent Godin, cranberry producer in Quebec, co-owner of Emblem Cranberry and president of the Quebec Cranberry Growers Association, said he expects the 2020 crop to be a bit lower than in the past two years in terms of volume, but it’s normal as cranberry plants produce more berries in the second year of a two-year production cycle.

The stock is low too in the U.S. and in Canada so it should be good on the price producers will get this year,” he said. “With the climate change in the U.S., Quebec becomes the ideal region for the production of cranberries. The future is bright for our sector here.

To produce cranberries, it takes sand, water, a lot of patience, deep pockets and a strong business plan,” said Pierre-Étienne Parent, Farm Credit Canada (FCC) senior relationship manager who specializes in cranberry operations financing. “It may take five years for a new cranberry field to be productive. The key to success resides in the soil preparation and smart management of the critical harvest period. This is a large-scale and unique production that we should be very proud in Canada.

In France, doctors have started prescribing cranberry capsules combined with reduced doses of antibiotics to fight various infections, said Godin. Who knows, cranberries may soon be part of the Canadian medical repertoire and not just Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

Why eat cranberries?

  • They are an excellent source of vitamin C and support good bone health. In fact, a daily consumption of 115 ml of fresh cranberries satisfies the daily need of vitamin C for an adult.
  • This fruit is entirely void of sodium and contains very little sugar or protein.
  • The anti-adhesive properties of cranberries have positive effects on urinary tract, ulcers, gums and dental plaque.
  • They have amazing infection-fighting properties, especially for fighting urinary tract infections in women.
  • A regular intake of cranberry products may reduce the risk of recurring infections by up to 40 per cent and, in turn, reduce the need for antibiotic treatment.

This story is reproduced with permission from FCC.

About FCC

FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $38 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and food. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and food industries. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, we provide an appropriate return to our shareholder, and reinvest our profits back into the industries and communities we serve. For more information, visit fcc.ca.

Todayville is an independently-owned digital media company. We specialize in helping community groups, local businesses and organizations tell their story. Our team has years of media and video production experience. Talk to us about advertising, brand journalism stories, opinion pieces, event promotion, or other ideas you have to make our product better. We also own and operate Todayville Red Deer and Todayville Calgary.

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Agriculture

USAID head urges crisis-hit Sri Lanka to tackle corruption

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By Krishan Francis in Colombo

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A visiting U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged Sri Lankan authorities to tackle corruption and introduce governance reforms alongside efforts to uplift the country’s economy as a way out of its worst crisis in recent memory.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power told reporters that such moves will increase international and local trust in the government’s intentions.

“Assistance alone would not put an end to this country’s woes,” Power said. “I stressed to the Sri Lankan president in my meeting earlier today that political reforms and political accountability must go hand in hand with economic reforms and economic accountability.”

She said that international investor confidence will increase as the government tackles corruption and proceeds with long sought governance reforms. “As citizens see the government visibly following through on the commitment to bring about meaningful change, that in turn increases societal support for the tough economic reforms ahead,” she said.

During her two-day visit, Power announced a total of $60 million in aid to Sri Lanka. After meetings with farmers’ representatives at a rice field in Ja-Ela, outside of the capital Colombo on Saturday, she announced $40 million to buy agrochemicals in time for the next cultivation season.

Agricultural yields dropped by more than half for the past two cultivation seasons because authorities had banned the imports of chemical fertilizers ostensibly to promote organic farming. She said that according to the World Food Program, more than 6 million people — nearly 30% of Sri Lanka’s population — are currently facing food insecurity and require humanitarian assistance.

On Sunday, she said an additional $20 million will be given to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to vulnerable families.

Sri Lanka has faced its worst crisis after it defaulted on foreign loans, causing shortages of essentials like fuel, medicines and some food items.

It has reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $2.9 billion package to be disbursed over four years. However, the program hinges on Sri Lanka’s international creditors giving assurances on loan restructuring. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt is more than $51 billion of which $28 billion must be repaid by 2027.

Power said that the U.S. stands ready to assist with debt restructuring and reiterated that it is imperative that China, one of the island nation’s bigger creditors, cooperate in this endeavor.

Infrastructure like a seaport, airport and a network of highways built with Chinese funding did not earn revenue and are partly blamed for the country’s woes.

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Agriculture

Saskatchewan warns that federal employees testing farmers’ dugouts for nitrogen levels could be arrested for trespassing

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An escalating battle between Western Premiers and the federal government over restricting the use of nitrogen fertilizer has reached a new level of tension.
Premier Scott Moe is demanding to know why federal employees of Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault are “trespassing” on private land in Saskatchewan.  Moe signed a strongly worded letter (below) from Jeremy Cockrill, the Minister in charge of Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency.
The letter dated Sunday, August 21st states farmers from at least 3 different communities in southern Saskatchewan have reported Government of Canada employees in marked vehicles have been trespassing on their private land.  When confronted, the agents have admitted to testing dugouts for nitrogen levels.
On his official Facebook page Moe says “We are demanding an explanation from federal Minister Guilbeault on why his department is trespassing on private land without the owners’ permission to take water samples from dugouts.”
We are demanding an explanation from federal Minister Steven Guilbeault on why his department is trespassing on private land without the owners’ permission to take water samples from dugouts. We have received reports of this occurring in several places throughout our province.
We have advised the federal government that this should cease immediately and if it does not, it will be considered a violation of the province’s Trespass Act.
Violating this Act is serious, including a maximum penalty of $25,000 for repeat offenders, up to six months imprisonment following a conviction for a first or subsequent trespass offence, and a $200,000 maximum penalty for any corporation that counsels and/or aids in the commission of that offence.
Anyone wishing to report an incident of trespassing on private land can call 1-855-559-5502
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has already flatly said no thanks to a federal initiative to restrict the use of fertilizer by up to 30%.
Premier Moe is not alone in this battle with Ottawa.  Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has already weighed in on the nitrogen restrictions in this strongly worded video shared two weeks ago.

The letter from Saskatchewan comes on the heals of another strongly worded letter from Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister Heather Stefanson. In Stephanson’s letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, she says this is no time to cut food supply and raise the price of groceries.
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