Nova Scotia's minister of agriculture said he's fine with the word "local" being used for Valley strawberries sold in Cape Breton supermarkets.

Cape Breton strawberry producer Eddie Rendell recently complained about the term "local" being used to describe Annapolis Valley berries sold in supermarkets in the Sydney area.

Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell said the province defines 'local' as anything grown in Nova Scotia.

"We only produce approximately 20 per cent of the total food consumed in Nova Scotia, in Nova Scotia," he said.

"That’s a serious concern for us. That’s why we like the opportunity to call this local if it’s produced in Nova Scotia because it is, locally, someplace in Nova Scotia rather than outside the province."

Colwell said the purpose is to help all Nova Scotia farmers market their products anywhere in the province.

"We encourage people all the time to buy as close to the source as possible. But we want to make sure that that source is always available and they hopefully have a really good market there," Colwell said.

"If they don't have that market next to their farm or in immediate proximity — this case probably most of Cape Breton Island — we want to make sure they can still sell that product on the mainland or any part of the province and still be a 'local' product."

Colwell said he understands Rendell's point — but he's standing by the current definition as an effective marketing tool.