Fruit Business Plan Recommendations
In the past year, a number of new fruit growers have requested information and tools to help develop their businesses. Development of new fruit ventures can be daunting. Often, relevant information is difficult to access, so it is strongly recommended that a new entrant’s first step is to contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Provincial Fruit Specialist.
Some initial factors that must be assessed include soil suitability, access to water sources, soil drainage characteristics, market potential, processing capacity, supportive infrastructure, equipment, financing, business structures, species-specific fruit crop needs, wind, topography , frost, et cetera. The fruit specialist can help guide you through agronomic needs and direct you to other specialists who have the specific agronomic and business strengths you need.
Development of a formal business plan holds tremendous value. The exercise of crafting a formal plan forces entrepreneurs to grapple with questions they would often overlook or not properly consider.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture has some online tools that facilitate business plan development on the Business Plan and Development Guides web page. There are also agricultural business specialists located at various regional offices throughout the province who can provide assistance: Morley Ayers (North Battleford), Kari Burnett (Swift Current), Karen Smith (Tisdale), Brenda Stefanson (Watrous), Ken Evans (Weyburn) and Rachel Kraynick (Yorkton).
It’s also recommended that new entrants participate in grower events (put on by organizations like the Saskatchewan Fruit Growers Association, Canadian Cherry Producers Inc., Saskatoon Berry Council of Canada and Haskap Canada as proxy for Haskap Saskatchewan) as well as in University of Saskatchewan Fruit Program offerings. These organizations and events facilitate networking and allow new growers to gain industry insight.
Other business development needs can also be supported through resources available within Saskatchewan Agriculture. For example, specialists in the Value Added Unit of the Trade and Value Added Branch can help with the development of value-added processing plans.