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Canadian blueberry growers predict year of losses due to low prices

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Staff Writer | June 12, 2017
Prince Edward Island’s wild blueberry growers are bracing for what could be a year or more of money-losing operations.
Canadian blueberry
Canada   "Basically everything came on at once"
John Handrahan, president of the P.E.I. Wild Blueberry Growers Association said growers have already been advised their price this year will not likely be as good as last year. And last year’s was not a money-maker for most growers, he suggested.

The price last year worked out to around 30 cents a pound.

“There is no real established break-even price for the industry, but 30 cents is below break-even, I would say, for all farmers,” he maintained.

“I know right now that, if the prices come true that we’re hearing from one of the processors, I’ll lose money this year and next year; there’s no doubt about it. We can’t make money at those prices.”

He said the over-supply problem extends well beyond P.E.I.

“For many years there was a shortage of wild blueberries in the market,” said Wade Dover, general manager of Wyman’s P.E.I. blueberry processing plant. “Everybody realized that, so they raced to get land up to production levels. Basically everything came on at once.”

Handrahan said the Island growers received around 50 cents a pound for their crop in 2015, 55 cents the year before that and closer to 70 cents a pound in 2013.