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ensure that royalties are paid,” Kappel said.

Growers have until the end of February to pay without penalty. When trees are produced in home nurseries, as is common in the Okanagan, it’s the responsibility of the grower to remit the royalties to SVC. Commercial nurseries collect the royalties at the time of sale. Kappel’s goals include continuing development of the corporation’s test orchard in Oliver.

Half of the orchard will be used as a testing site for more promising varieties, while the other half will be leased to a BCFGA member to operate on a commercial basis.

“We want to produce a large enough quantity of advanced selections to run storage trials, see how they do on packing lines and start marketing efforts.”

PARC’s breeding program lacks the space to produce the newest varieties in sufficient amounts to conduct market- entry and sensory evaluations. Two acres of a numbered apple selection will be planted at the test orchard this year. Plantings will expand over time to include cherries and more

apple varieties.

Kappel also plans to gradually increase efforts to promote brands — for example, to name an apple variety, have it trademarked and then promoted in the marketplace. The SVC board recently approved the hiring of a marketing and business development coordinator. Advertising for the new position will begin soon. Currently, Kappel is working with overseas partners who wish to expand their plantings of SVC-licensed varieties while ensuring that Canadian growers are not impacted; for example, projects to increase the acreage of Staccato cherries that will come onto the market at a different time than Canadian cherries.

SVC operates in 15 countries. “Plant breeder rights agreements are still in place on Ambrosia in European and Southern Hemisphere countries. We’re talking with partners there about expansion of plantings to meet demand while maintaining the quality of fruit,” Kappel said.

He is already thinking about the next phase of the AgriInnovation Program, an industry-led program that began in 2013 and runs to January 31, 2018. The

program focuses on helping to commercialize innovative agri- products, technologies or services. “We need to be ready with another project for the next phase, which begins in two years,” Kappel said.

He is especially interested in making SVC’s current program even more national by including participants from the apple industry in Nova Scotia SVC is currently collaborating with industry participants in Ontario and Quebec. The budwood orchard is also on Kappel’s radar.

SVC plays an important role in supplying Canadian and international growers with virus-free propagative tree fruit materials Kappel explained. “There’s been a large demand for cider apple wood. We’re one of the few sources,” said Kappel, who

acknowledged Nick Ibuki’s foresight in planting cider varieties in the orchard years ago.

Ibuki is the operations manager at SVC.

Reflecting on the challenging, multi- faceted nature of his position, Kappel said, “In the end it’s all about people and dealing with them fairly.”


British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016

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