B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham. Photo: Barry Gerding/Black Press

A $5 million boost for Okanagan fruit growers

The Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund was announced to help update aging farming equipment, infrastructure

The province has unveiled a new $5 million fund to assist tree-fruit growers with replacing aging equipment and infrastructure, B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham announced today.

Speaking at the B.C. Tree Fruit Growers annual general meeting in Kelowna, Popham said apple, cherry and other tree fruit growers throughout the province will be able to access the $5-million Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund.

“This fund will help family-run orchards and the sector as a whole with advancements that make B.C. tree fruit more competitive in the marketplace,” said Popham. “The $5-million investment reflects this government’s commitment to partner with B.C. growers to help modernize their practices, and help them share their great-tasting apples, cherries and other fruits, with more customers here at home and around the world.”

Related: Minimum wage increase hampers Okanagan fruit growers

The fund will be open to tree fruit growers, producers, and processors to support three key areas of priority:

  • Research: cultivar, disease and pest research.
  • Marketing: export market opportunities and market development research.
  • Infrastructure: sector-based infrastructure modernization such as new equipment.

“This funding is so important to the future of our industry. We need help controlling new invasive pests like the brown marmorated stinkbug, and marketing is an area where we need to invest in new varieties,” said Fred Steele, outgoing president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association.

“This funding will also help with our very successful replant program. This investment, at a time when we are challenged in the marketplace, will ensure that we continue to make progress that leads to a bright future for the tree fruit sector. The government is fulfilling its promise made during the election campaign.”

Related: Orchardists expand deer cull request

Portions of the fund can also be used to address any oversubscription of the B.C. government’s Tree Fruit Replant Program over the next four years. This year, the province provided an additional $300,000 in funding for the replant program, to meet the demand from tree fruit growers.

The B.C. government will be engaging with the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association and other partners to set up the fund and establish the process for awarding funding. It is anticipated the fund will be active for the next three to four years.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Send us your spring pics for a chance to win

The Capital News is collecting photos of you taking advantage of this nice weather

Purchasing knock-off products seen as ethical in Chinese culture, says UBCO study

Kelowna - Consumers buy counterfeit items based on cultural influences, says UBCO prof

Construction starts along Richter Street

The work is expected to be completed in July

Fraser Institute school evaluation report criticized

Central Okanagan School District says school assessment test results flawed

VIDEO: B.C. ‘escapologist’ stuns judges on Britain’s Got Talent

Matt Johnson says televised water stunt was closest he’s come to death

B.C. hires 20 more conservation officers

The province announces 12 new locations for conservation officer services this year

Sunshine brings out beachgoers in the Shuswap

Spring is here so bring on the beach, it’s never to early for a swim

B.C. pharmacist pleads guilty to animal cruelty charge

Joelle Mbamy was handed $1k fine, on top of $5k fine already imposed, and 10-year animal prohibition

‘N’ driver in McLaren caught going 70 km/hr in playground zone

Vancouver police said the driver was fined $368 and the luxury car impounded for seven days

Dr. LipJob ordered to stop doing botox and other medical procedures

Rajdeep Kaur Khakh ordered to stop unlawful practice of medicine

B.C. to prevent for-profit blood, plasma collection

Voluntary Blood Donations Act would make it illegal to pay for blood, plasma donations

Fire destroys historic house at Hilltop Gardens near Spences Bridge

Spences Bridge firefighters responded to the blaze, but were unable to save the house

Bill Cosby guilty in sexual assault case

Comedian convicted of drugging and molesting a woman

Most Read