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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shots fired in Abbotsford, but no victims or suspects found

Incident occurs Tuesday afternoon at Whatcom and Old Yale roads

Signs of support to be posted on grounds of local hospitals

Individuals can purchase signs through program of Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

VIDEO: Parade of lights, sirens thanks health care workers

First responders and members of the public thanked the hard-working health care workers

VIDEO: No need to stockpile food says Mission mayor

Pam Alexis records video message to the public

Sex offender charged again less than two months after prison release

Taylor Dueck, who was living in Mission, has history of sex assaults in Abbotsford

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Most Read