Nova Scotia’s low-bush blueberry industry: Identified areas of concern, what needs done and visions for the future
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The low-bush blueberry industry is Nova Scotia’s most important agricultural industry, occupying the largest area under horticultural production and contributing the most economically. The blueberry industry has become highly mechanized and its yields depend on inputs of energy primarily derived from fossil fuels. Like most agricultural industries there is room for increased energy efficiency. Furthermore, blueberries are a healthy fruit and their consumption should be encouraged. This study aimed to assess stakeholders’ views of the industry, specifically to determine areas of improvement, what should be done, and visions for the future. The eleven stakeholders to the industry (growers, producers, and industry and government workers) were identified through Google searches, the Wild Blueberry Producers Association and personal contacts. The sample was non-representative and made use of purposive and snow-ball sampling techniques. Ten people were interviews over the phone and one responded by email. Areas identified for improvement include pruning methodologies, chemical inputs, energy efficiency, and domestic market development. The results show more research is needs to determine best practices and develop policy. It is imperative that any solutions or policies aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing environmental impacts are cost-effective.