Efforts to market B.C. apples could get a grower-funded boost

Efforts to market B.C. apples could get a grower-funded boost

Apple growers voting on new levy

Naramata orchardist says small price will provide big benefits to growers in the Okanagan

Apple producers are considering paying a new levy on their fruit to help them grow their profits.

Voting got underway last week on the proposed creation of the B.C. Apple Research and Promotion Agency, which would be funded by a levy of two-tenths of a cent per pound.

Naramata orchardist Peter Simonsen produce about a million pounds of apple each year, meaning he’d happily be on the hook for $2,000.

“I know it’s going to make me money, and that’s the thing: You can’t save your way to prosperity,” said Simonsen, who sits on the executive of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

The BCFGA initiated the vote, but if approved by about 800 eligible producers, the new agency would eventually function independently of the association and do work that complements that of other industry groups.

An information package prepared for growers estimates the levy could generate $316,000 a year and would be collected at the first point of sale, typically a packinghouse. The agency would use the cash to market B.C. apples and fund research projects.

“A lot of growers are complaining, they’re calling it a tax or whatever they’re calling it, but (the levy) is a really small amount,” said Simonsen.

“It gives us a pool of funds, and if we do the right things with the money, like promotion, we will have a lot more than eight cents (per 40-pound box) come back to us.”

David Evans, an Oliver-area orchardist, is concerned about the bureaucracy that collection of the levy will require.

“It’s the logistics of it,” said Evans, who has five acres of apples and this fall received a patent for his new Okana variety.

“A lot of us are independent and we don’t ship to regular packinghouses.”

Simonsen said the idea of the agency has been discussed for years, but was continually shot down because some thought the levy would be a burden on the industry.

Now, however, he thinks the time is right to take a vote.

Similar bodies already exist in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, while Nova Scotia is also considering one.

If that province and B.C. do follow through, Simonsen said, it would clear the path to apply an equal levy on imported apples.

Domestically, the levy would not apply to growers with less than two acres of apples or those who sell directly to consumers. Everyone else, including those selling into the U.S., would pay.

For the levy to be approved, 40 per cent of eligible producers must register a vote, and 65 per cent of them must be in favour.

Voting began at public meetings last week in Oliver and Lake Country. Ballots will be sent by mail to those who didn’t attend.

The final day of voting will be at the BFCGA convention on Feb. 15, 2014.

If approved, the levy is expected to be in place for the 2014 season.

 

Just Posted

(Facebook)
New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read