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

Port Alberni’s firefighters learn to save themselves in ground survival training

Specialized training equipment brought in for Ground Survival Program

Port Alberni RCMP have their eyes on impaired drivers

March 17 to 23 is National Impaired Driving Prevention Week

Premier on hand as Paper Excellence finalizes Catalyst Paper purchase

Sale includes Crofton mill, plus mills in Port Alberni and Powell River

Three people deemed heroes after rescuing another in fiery crash on B.C. highway

Two people taken to hospital following head-on collision near Port Alberni

Port Alberni prepares to welcome hundreds of Indigenous youth delegates

Gathering Our Voices event will take place in the Alberni Valley from March 19-22

B.C. resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Suspicous fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Dozens of B.C. temperature records smashed as spring brings early warmth

Squamish Airport was the hottest spot in all of Canada on Monday

Hackers seek holes in B.C. Hydro power grid, auditor says

System meets standards, but local outages still a concern

Nanaimo RCMP stop cyclist with no helmet, find out he’s wanted for murder

Kyle Antonio Dias, 19, to face second-degree murder charge in Toronto

British Columbia Teachers’ Federation welcomes new leader

Teri Mooring will take over as president this summer

Most Read