Food In Canada

Federal funding fuels growth for six Nova Scotia agri-food companies

By Food in Canada Staff   

Business Operations Fruit & Vegetables Meat &Poultry Seafood Atlantic Poultry Eden Valley Poultry Editor pick Nova Scotia Scotian Gold Co-operative Sustainable Blue Van Meekeren Farms

The federal government is investing to help six agri-food companies in Nova Scotia to seize new growth opportunities through automation, expansion and access to new markets.

Repayable contributions totalling $4,855,000 through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program have been granted to Scotian Gold, Atlantic Poultry, Nova Agri, Van Meekeren Farms, Eden Valley Poultry and Sustainable Blue.

“Nova Scotia’s fruits, vegetables, meats and seafoods are world-famous. By choosing to innovate, these companies are increasing yields, supporting good jobs and solidifying the Annapolis Valley’s reputation as a world-class food producer,” said Gudie Hutchings, the minister responsible for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

Scotian Gold Co-operative received $950,000 to purchase and install an automated apple pre-sorting processing line. The company is expecting a double digit increase in the volume of apples that will need to be processed from their growers in the next five years, the majority of which are bound for export markets in the United States. This contribution will help the company accommodate this growth, explore additional export markets and increase harvesting efficiencies in the packing facility.


“The new presort technology will further automate the sorting process for our apples. This will lead to increase efficiencies at our facility as well as a more consistent product to our customers,” said David Parrish, CEO, Scotian Gold Co-operative.

Atlantic Poultry Inc. (API) received $950,000 to integrate automated incubation equipment and process automation in a new state-of-the-art broiler chick hatchery. The contribution will assist in the company’s growth by improving yield and efficiencies, while at the same time streamlining logistics and labour to improve the effectiveness of the automated equipment in a new single stage hatchery.

“ACOA’s support has played a pivotal role in allowing API to embark on the ambitious project of constructing a state-of-the-art hatchery right here in the Annapolis Valley. ACOA’s funding has strengthened our capacity as an Atlantic Canadian company and will significantly contribute to the broader agricultural landscape in our region,” said Mike Bannister, CEO, Atlantic Poultry Inc.

My Country Magic – Leaders in the Canadian agri-food industry (Nova Agri) received $900,000 to purchase automated onion vision grading equipment. This will help reduce onion defects, thereby maintaining and expanding key export accounts in the United States. The line will also increase productivity and processing capabilties, as well as extend the long-term storage of onions, allowing the company to serve domestic and international markets year-round.

Nova Agri was incorporated in 1985 as the marketing arm of its parent company, Dykeview Farms, a producer of fruits and vegetables since being founded in 1971. The company owns approximately 2000 acres of crops in the Annapolis Valley and has facilities in Canning and Centreville for its core business, which involves storing, grading, packing, processing and marketing fruits and vegetables.

Van Meekeren Farms received $900,000 to expand its cold storage capacity by establishing a new facility equipped with automated and energy-efficient controlled atmosphere and refrigeration equipment. This equipment will maintain the quality of the fresh fruit, thereby extending the marketing season for local Nova Scotia apples and ensuring the fruit is well suited for export markets.

Eden Valley Poultry received $650,000 to purchase automated processing equipment. This is part of a multi-phased expansion designed to increase the production capacity and efficiency of processing boneless chicken breasts. Product quality and yield will also be increased through reductions in waste and trimming. Eden Valley Poultry processes fresh and frozen chicken and turkey products.

Sustainable Blue received $505,000 to purchase advanced automated salmon processing equipment to increase efficiency, product quality, explore new markets and develop new value-added products by processing fish normally sent to the waste stream.

Sustainable Blue’s mission is to create a land based Atlantic salmon fishery that discharges zero effluent back into the environment. The company has developed a proprietary water filtration technology and now operates the only zero discharge marine aquaculture facility anywhere in the world. In 2021, the company increased production capacity to 1,000 metric tonnes per year.

“Sustainable Blue is delighted to receive this support from ACOA. The company has come through an extended period of technology development and is now in the commercialization phase. These funds will help the company secure efficiencies in key operational areas and develop valuable alternative revenue streams which will increase the project’s sustainability credentials,” said Kirk Havercroft, CEO, Sustainable Blue.

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