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N.L. puts up $2.2M for regional cranberry work

Over half of a $4 million economic development package for Newfoundland’s central region will go toward plans for a major expansion in cranberries.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government on Friday pledged $2.22 million for the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor to start “pre-commercial expansion” of the local cranberry industry.

That expansion is expected to include the development of up to 120 acres for production, site selection analysis and development of a comprehensive report outlining opportunities for future commercial development.

“This year’s funding provides financial assistance to applicants interested in becoming involved in the development of cranberry sites in our province,” Kathy Dunderdale, minister for the provincial Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, said in a release Friday.

“This investment will enable us to further develop this industry and take it to the next level of commercialization. This can be an important sustainable agriculture industry for the central region and it will contribute to the long-term growth and continued success of this sector in the province.”

The $4 million package also includes $1.5 million for downtown developments and $246,000 to establish a Memorial University research office in Grand Falls-Windsor.

“Upon AbitibiBowater confirming its intention to cease operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government chartered an aggressive course of action that provides support for displaced workers and leverages regional strengths to advance economic development,” Rural Development Minister Shawn Skinner said in the province’s release.

“Initiatives announced today mark a key step on that course, and as a government we are confident that they will contribute to the long-term health of the region’s economy.”

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