fruit,” he said. It’s important that the industry not lose any more acreage, because 2.8 to three million boxes of apples is the minimum output needed for the industry to survive, he noted. Growers are locked into an Agricultural Land Reserve that they are required to maintain for the benefit of all, yet they are not currently able to make a living doing so, he commented. That’s why acreage in orchards is declining. “When land lies fallow we all miss that contribution to the local economy. We don’t want idle ALR land.
But, too many years in a row of poor economic returns have resulted in significant downsizing. “There have been alarming decreases in apple acreage,” he added. The industry is also modernizing, downsizing and being more efficient. As well, it’s looking at consolidation of varieties to enable facilities to be more efficient in packing and marketing.
Quality improvement is essential, as is innovative marketing. Because farms in B.C. are such a small size compared to those across the border, it’s more difficult to achieve consistency, but on the other hand, those smaller-sized farms are able to be more attentive to details, such as with hand-thinning for better quality fruit, Sardinha commented. The campaign includes a Facebook
page called the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, where users can learn more about agriculture and the tree fruit industry, and provide feedback. Growers have also succeeded in reaching local government with their message.
At this fall’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention,
Vancouver-area politicians will table a resolution calling on the province to honour its commitment in the B.C. Agriculture Plan, ‘Growing a Healthy Future for B.C. Families,’ and to invest in an industry-led marketing program.
It would be aimed at increasing public awareness and branding for locally-grown food as well as increasing support for agricultural extension services.
Members of the Southern Interior Local Government Association have sent in a resolution that provincial spending on agriculture be increased to bring it more in line with the national average of 16.4 percent of the GDP. It’s currently 3.3 percent in B.C. In fact, B.C. was the only Canadian province where net farm income was on the negative side of the ledger last year according to Statistics Canada. Southern Interior politicians also approved a resolution calling for increased support for the Agricultural Land Commission to enable it to provide more services to agricultural business; and one to urge the province to implement a “buy local’
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1-800-979-2993 FAX: 250-717-5751 McGill dal British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2011
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Stag’s Hollow Winery, Okanagan Falls, BC
Creative Director Art Director CopyWriter Account Director Account Manager Make it a Point.
November 30, 2011
program to promote the sale of local, sustainably-produced foods in support of the B.C. interior tree fruit industry.
In 2010, the B.C. agriculture sector lost $87 million and civic politicians say that’s in part because funding for agriculture programs in B.C. are poor due to depressed market returns. Sardinha said he was pleased to see the resolutions and commented, “Our province is not competitive with government support for agriculture, resulting in unfair trade impacts on pricing.”
SCB11008.HOTPOTATO.113 2.25” x 7.5”
docket # SCB_11008.03 BC Fruit Grower
This advertisement prepared by: McGILL PRODUCTIONS • July 28, 2011
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