BC. orchardists getting more money for replant program

The government has announced $11 million more for the seven-year replant program.

The B.C. government is putting another $11 million into the seven-year tree fruit replant assistance program.

The B.C. government’s seven-year tree fruit replant program will now assist even more growers with an additional $1 million in funding over the life of the program, says the provincial government.

The announcement, made Thursday in Oliver with B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association representatives and local growers on hand, provides more support to B.C.’s tree fruit growers who have made the decision to replant their orchards with high-value fruit varieties.

“The replant program is critical to the renewal and growth of our industry, especially for cherry and apple production and the popularity of the program has caught everyone by surprise, said BCFGA president Fred Steele.

“The new funding announced today will help accelerate renewal and this is very positive news for growers.”

For the 2016-17 season, it is estimated that $300,000 of the new funding will be available and this will assist more than two dozen additional projects with 122 additional acres being replanted.

In total, the province’s tree fruit replant program is committing $9.4 million that will see at least 1,600 acres replanted by 2021, providing more than 2,600 jobs each year for the Okanagan.

According to the government, the application intake for the 2016-17 season was so successful it was

significantly oversubscribed and has now closed. The new funding, for the 2017-18 season, will be available on the Ministry of Agriculture website this fall. Additional information is available here:

http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/treefruit-replant-program.

B.C. growers produced Canada’s second largest tree fruit crop in 2014, including more than 126,000 tonnes of apples, sweet cherries, peaches, pears, plums/prunes, nectarines and apricots.

There are nearly 6,000 tree fruit orchards in B.C., with the majority located in the Okanagan Valley.

Apples account for the majority of land in tree fruits with 62%, followed by sweet cherries at 22%.

The provincial agriculture ministry says increasing production, driving competitiveness and building markets are three key priorities of the B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan, which  has an overall goal of growing the B.C. agrifoods sector to a $15 billion-per-yearindustry by 2020.