Province helps growers replant orchards
The Province is providing B.C. apple and tree fruit growers
with $2 million to help replant low-value orchards with high-demand
The program flows from the ministry's Agrifoods Strategy, and its
goal to expand domestic markets through high-quality products by
targeting the planting of premium varieties such as Ambrosia and red
strains of Gala. The funding will help focus B.C. apple growers on a
"right variety, right size, right grade" strategy to serve high-value
fruit markets with apple varieties that thrive in B.C.'s climate.
The program, which also includes a grafting and budding component,
will operate for three years. Growers can apply to participate in the
program at any time.
The program will be administered by the BC Fruit Growers Association,
in partnership with the BC Investment Agriculture Foundation.
Applications will be reviewed by a small panel with representation
from the Ministry of Agriculture, the B.C. Fruit Growers Association
and independent growers.
B.C.'s Agrifoods Strategy aims to expand domestic and international
markets for B.C. foods by focusing on the production of high-quality
products. The strategy is designed to lead B.C.'s agrifoods sector to
a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
Agriculture Minister Don McRae -
"The replanting program will support B.C.'s apple growers' efforts to
meet consumer demand for high-value apples, and lead to expanded
markets in and out of the province."
"The funding will help ensure British Columbians have fresh, local
foods while bringing employment and business opportunities throughout
the fruit tree value chain."
B.C. Fruit Growers' Association president Kirpal Boparai -
"Growers welcome the announcement of the replant program. Our
association has been working with the Province on ways to bring
sustainability to our industry, through the formation of the Tree
Fruit Industry Working Group and its recommendation for a Replant
"The BCFGA appreciates the confidence the Minister of Agriculture and
the Okanagan MLAs have shown through this investment in the future of
locally produced, healthy tree fruits in B.C."
* B.C. produced 97,000 tonnes of apples in 2011, with about 75 per
cent sold in Western Canada. B.C. also had apple exports of $11
million to USA, and $1 million to both Mexico and Vietnam.
* In 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture created a Tree Fruit Industry
Working Group with industry to identify the key issues impacting the
profitability of the industry in B.C., and to make recommendations to
ensure a strong, vibrant and sustainable future. The working group
identified the benefits a replant program could bring.
* From 1999 to 2011, B.C. tree fruit growers received more than $120
million from the provincial and federal governments in response to
weather-related losses and income-stability programs, as well as more
than $30 million in other funding.
* Today's funding is in addition to the $5 million federal-provincial
Tree Fruit Marketing and Infrastructure Innovation. Deliverables from
that program include the modernization of the Okanagan Tree Fruit
Cooperative packinghouse announced in January 2012.