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Feds back Labrador wild berry harvesting

Economic development officials in Labrador will put federal money toward a pilot project to boost harvesting capacity for wild berries.

Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue on Monday pledged $35,267 in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) for the pilot, aimed at finding more ways to harvest berries in southern Labrador.

The funding will go to the Labrador Straits Development Corp. and Southeastern Aurora Development Corp., which plan to partner with “local industry” to establish the project and determine the cost of harvesting berries, from the ground to production.

The project is also expected to deliver training to local harvesters and develop a land inventory to gauge the availability of a “sustainable source” of berries in the region, including yield measurement and GPS mapping in the barrens.

“This project will help find ways that more wild berries can be harvested right here in southern Labrador to fill the growing industry and consumer demand,” Penashue said in an announcement at Red Bay.

Grants through the five-year, $175 million ICF are focused on investments expected to lead to “long-term employment and economic capacity-building” in Atlantic Canada’s rural communities.

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