Poor Prices Forecast for North’s Wild Rice Growers

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 at 13:04




Another anticipated bumper crop of wild rice this fall is expected to hurt Northern Saskatchewan’s wild rice producers.


When harvesting of wild rice begins in earnest next week across the North, growers will be getting their poorest return in years for their crop.


It’s because there is still 2.2 million pounds of wild rice from last year’s bumper crop still waiting to be sold — which is roughly the equivalent of the entire 2001 harvest.


Kitsaki Meats buys and markets roughly 50 per cent of the wild rice grown in the North.


Spokesman Terry Helary says because of the overabundance of wild rice and the prospect of another good crop this year, his company is in a position where it probably shouldn’t be buying any more wild rice.


Helary says this year’s situation is unique, because the wild rice industry in the North isn’t accustomed to dealing with two very good harvests back to back.


He expects prices paid to growers will be down to about 50 cents a pound this year, compared to the 85 cents paid per pound last year.


Kitsaki officials estimate a wild rice grower needs to get about 40 cents a pound just to break even.