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and development, Rikhi said he does not have the time to market his fruit privately.


“The packing house hasn’t done a good job of promoting soft fruit for a number of years. Their main focus is on apples. Also, they could increase efficiency by lowering overhead,” he said. The OTFC handles 35 to 40 per cent of the province’s soft fruit production in contrast to 90 per cent of the pear and 81 per cent of the apple annual harvest according to Shieck.


Schieck acknowledges that in order for OTFC to attract more soft fruit it must return at least as much to growers as the independents do.


“If we can continue to provide the quality and varieties required by our customers and in the timeframe required, combined with a more efficient and cost effective packing operation then we should be able to attract more fruit,” he said. OTFC is also planning to provide additional incentives in terms of services provided for growers who commit to ship all their soft fruit through the cooperative.


AGRICULTURAL NETS & FABRICS


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250.494.1099 16 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2011


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