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Harvard Study says Maine Needs a Plan to Grow Food Industry

PORTLAND, Maine - A Harvard University report says contributors to Maine's food and drink industries need to develop a coordinated growth plan if they want the state to become a major provider in the region.

The report was released Thursday. The Portland Press Herald reports that it was created by Harvard's Maine Food Cluster Project and is based on months of research that included a survey of more than 300 businesses.

Maine's food and beverage industry employs about 50,000 residents. The report says several factors hold the industry back. They include Maine's lack of economic competitiveness, the fact that most participants are tiny, the high cost of transportation and a lack of desire on the part of many producers to grow rapidly.

The report touts growth in Maine's lobster, beer and organic sectors.