N.L. extends program for farm produce storage

Another 20 farmers in Newfoundland and Labrador built, expanded and/or upgraded fruit and vegetable storage in 2008 as the province extended a four-year program into a fifth year.

The province’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency last year met its goal of spending $1 million over four years, at a rate of $250,000 a year, to fund its fruit and vegetable storage assistance program.

But the province has opted to continue the program into 2008 with another $250,000 and now describes it as an “annual” program.

“Often the productive capacity of a farm is limited by its ability to safely store its crop,” said Kathy Dunderdale, minister for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency, in a release Thursday.

“This funding enables farmers to make enhancements to their storage capacity, which enables them to increase production, extend their marketing season and improve food quality and safety.”

The program, she said, has allowed farmers not only to build or expand storage but to reduce their storage operating costs.

“Given the concern we all have over the security of our food supply, it is critical that we continue to make food safety improvements, from the installation of more efficient cooling systems and mechanized handling systems, to washable wall and floor surfaces, and even shatterproof bulbs,” Dunderdale said.

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