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NVDC set to become Ambrosia Council By Judie Steeves D

espite a poor turnout at information sessions, the vote to continue the mandate of the New Variety Development Council was favourable this spring and only ministerial approval of the change in legislation is holding up renaming it the Ambrosia Council.

Since Ambrosia is no longer a new variety, the new name is more appropriate to the work of the council, and it won’t change what the council does by much, explained chairman Bruce Currie. In the end, it was necessary for members of the council to volunteer to phone member growers to ensure enough of them voted for the new five- year term to continue the work of the council, based on a levy per pound of fruit packed. That levy goes toward marketing and promotion of the variety, research into factors that affect its quality, as well as

Shandler contends that both levels of government promote local food supply but actually do nothing to protect our food producers with a Canada-first policy.

The infrastructure of farming— whether it is fruit, vegetables, meat or poultry—requires a complex system of equipment dealers and repair, storage capabilities, packaging, and seasonal workers for each community and region. Shandler believes food security capability in B.C. will continue to decline unless there is meaningful support from all levels of government and consumers. “I’m disappointed in the government for not protecting us from such cheap

grower workshops on techniques for growing optimum sizes and colour that will bring growers the best returns, explained Currie.

“The money is in larger fruit, and right now a lot of

Ambrosias are coming in small. They can sell small fruit but not at the best price,” he said.

Last year saw the largest harvest yet of Ambrosias with around 425,000 boxes packed.

The existing mandate for the council expires June 30.

All Ambrosia growers will meet June 22 in the Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library on Main Street to elect new council members at the annual general meeting.

As well, they will hear a report from B.C. Tree Fruits on last year’s returns and marketing efforts as well as projections for the

2011 crop.

Field staff from the Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-operative will report on both Ambrosia and Nicola.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in attending.

imports where there are subsidies and where there is hidden government assistance with such input costs as water,” he adds.

Shandler plans to return to those growers this summer to talk about the results and suggest other practices that will help increase returns for their fruit. Growers who would like some guidance with growing Ambrosia can contact him through their field service representative.

“Gord has consistently been one of the top Ambrosia growers in the house so we were fortunate to have him work with us,” commented Bruce Currie, chairman of the council.

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British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2011

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