GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – The provincial government is hoping a number of news actions announced on Monday will double Newfoundland and Labrador’s food self-sufficiency and the number of people directly employed in agriculture.
Premier Dwight Ball made the announcement at the new Centre for Agriculture and Forestry Development in Wooddale during an agriculture sector summit.
He was joined by representatives of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture and Food First NL, as well as ministers of the cabinet committee on jobs, and students, community, academic and business leaders.
The new facility is the result of a redevelopment of the former Wooddale Tree Nursery.
Activity at the facility now includes not only the production of tree seedlings, but also fruit and vegetable crop development, bee keeping, and other research activities that advance and diversify the agriculture sector.
In addition to developing the centre, other actions launched on Monday included:
- Addressing the human resource needs of the industry with tailored labour market supports, immigration attraction, and efforts to help attract people to opportunities in agriculture;
- Supporting the industry’s ability to leverage its global competitive advantages;
- Advancing education and innovation opportunities via institutions that include Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, the College of the North Atlantic and Innovate NL;
- Increasing demand for fresh produce by creating new opportunities for local growers to supply health facilities;
- Fostering increased agricultural activity in Labrador; and
- Promoting the growth of secondary processing companies in Newfoundland and Labrador.
All 43 actions included in the new sector work plan will be fully operationalized within 24 months.
“The federation and its members throughout the province are pleased to partner with government to advance an ambitious and comprehensive plan that will simultaneously promote the health of residents, and the economic strength of our province,” Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture president Merv Wiseman said in a news release.
“Agriculture has always had tremendous potential to support the economic diversification that our province needs so much, and it is exciting to finally begin pursuing that potential.”
A copy of the sector work plan and other materials presented at the agriculture industry summit can be found on the provincial government's website.