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noted Dhukia. A replant program has to be long-

term because of the planning that’s required, he notes. Dhukia has also told Pimm about

grower concerns that this province’s agriculture ministry budget is the lowest in the country, and asked that it be brought up to the national average. As well, he said the industry is working to get some compensation for the Columbia River Treaty, which not only provided flood protection south of the border, as it was intended, but also ended up providing cheap irrigation for orchards in Washington State. As a result, the B.C. industry went

from being 53,000 acres to today’s 17,000 acres in size. South of the border, there are now 100,000 acres of apple orchard where once there was just desert, he says. Pimm promised to continue efforts

to ensure residents of B.C. buy local agri-food products and that the province takes advantage of new market opportunities in Asia. Despite the austerity talk in Victoria, he says there wasn’t a reduction in the budget for his new ministry from that presented in February. Both the Buy Local program and

the School Fruit and Vegetable program are still there, although there’s been no increase in the budget as demanded by many commodity groups. Pimm was first elected in 2009 and

is a former Fort St. John councillor. He has 25 years experience in the oil and gas industry and is president of Alpha Controls Ltd., a company that provides construction, maintenance and electrician services for construction projects. He admits agriculture is a very diverse ministry and says he’s spent some time getting up to speed on some of the issues. There are 200 commodities in the agriculture side of his portfolio and 100 on the aquaculture side of it, he noted. “I’ve grown up in the Peace region

and been around grain and cattle most of my life, and it’s a key interest in our community. I’m very excited to have the agriculture portfolio,” he commented.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013 25

He has a small-business background and says he’s already started good relationships with some of the commodity groups his ministry works with, and he intends to

continue. He’s enthusiastic about the new agri-foods program and the federal- provincial Growing Forward program.

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