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

Armchair Book Club: Wisdom of ages in books

Heather Allen is a book reviewer and writer living in Penticton

Collision closes Penticton intersection temporarily

Drivers escape with minor injuries

Parking study coming back to Penticton city council

Parking study lays out options to solve parking problems around SOEC

Coffee with a Cop returns to Penticton Dec. 19

Local RCMP officers will be on hand to chat and answer questions from the community

Funding changes mean closure for Success By 6

B.C. making major changes to early childhood development funding

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Most Read