Province helps growers replant orchards

Agriculture Minister Don McRae visits the Okanagan Valley today to announce provincial funding to help orchardists replant to new varieties.

  • May. 23, 2012 7:00 a.m.

The Province is providing B.C. apple and tree fruit growers

with $2 million to help replant low-value orchards with high-demand

varieties.

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.

Quotes:

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

Program."

"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."

Quick Facts:

* 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.

 

 

 

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