An Annapolis Valley apple grower is out tens of thousands of dollars after a false alarm prompted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to quarantine his orchard.
Dan Gould says CFIA unfairly singled out him and two other growers over a suspected disease.
Gould was the farmer who first notified authorities in 2012 about the mystery ailment afflicting Pacific Gala apple trees in Nova Scotia. The problem caused the trunk to become rubbery.
'It's aggravating to know you were singled out.' - Dan Gould
In May, CFIA responded by ordering a quarantine of three orchards in the Morristown area, including Gould's business.
The agency said it detected apple proliferation phytoplasma, or APP. The disease is harmless to humans but potentially devastating to the industry.
No North American cases
The scare was connected to 40,000 trees imported from the same U.S. nursery in 2008.
There have been no cases in North America. The symptoms at Gould’s orchard did not match APP, but he was compelled to prune back his 800 trees. He lost about half of his crop.
“We have lost three years of production. In the long run it’s cost tens of thousands of dollars. For a little farm like ours it’s quite a bit,” he said.
Gould is the first farmer to come forward. He told his story exclusively to the CBC.
He said it was unfair that his business was so badly affected while others were not quarantined.
“It’s aggravating, annoying, whatever you want to call it, to know you were singled out for exercising your due diligence and being quarantined while the rest who purchased them were not,” he said.
He said CFIA has refused to explain why it only quarantined a small percentage of trees.
It’s still not clear what was wrong with his crops in the first place.