BC apples get funding boost

Salish and Aurora Golden Gala apples are to receive Buy Local funding to help promote these latest additions to the list of apple varieties.

The Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation (PICO), a subsidiary of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, is receiving $25,000 to assist in building consumer awareness for the "Born in BC. Raised in the Okanagan" brand and the two apples that were launched in 2012.

“Being from the Okanagan there is always a sense of pride when I see our local, high-quality fruits being shared with the rest of B.C. and the world,” said Norm Letnick, minister of agriculture. “With an estimated $54 million in farm gate sales in 2012, the British Columbia apple industry has much to celebrate and I congratulate PICO on receiving this funding."

PICO will also be using the funding to educate growers and retailers about the brand and consumers can look forward to in-store demos and increased promotional activities as the word gets out about these two new apples and the benefits of buying locally.

"We are delighted that the provincial government has recognized the innovative approach developed by PICO in its efforts to brand and market new apple varieties introduced in B.C.,” said PICO CEO John Kingsmill. “In time, we anticipate that consumers will come to recognize the "Born in BC. Raised in the Okanagan" brand and will eagerly purchase the new varieties appearing under it."

B.C.’s Buy Local program offers successful applicants matching funds up to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.

Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government's Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the BC Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.


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