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Focus on Farmland


Orchard renovation, rather than removal, has become more common, for several reasons.


JUDIE STEEVES Tree fruit acreage increasing


Downward trend reversed, according to census, which says vineyard total is also up. By Judie Steeves


D


espite a trend over the past couple of decades toward less acreage in orchards in B.C., the 2016 Agriculture Census released this spring shows a six per cent increase in tree fruit acreage in the past five years and a 51 per cent increase in revenue.


B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president Fred Steele attributes the increases to such programs as the Buy Local campaign, plus introduction of new varieties of cherries and apples, which are attracting premium prices and expanding export markets. As well, he points to new


horticultural practices that are more environmentally-friendly, and the introduction of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, which has removed barriers to growth for farmers.


“It’s an optimistic and exciting 10


time to be in the tree fruit sector of agriculture,” Steele says, adding, “This shows why we are optimistic about orchardists’ future.” (He’s got further comments in his column on page 20.)


Total production of tree fruits in the Okanagan in 2016 was 142,000 tons, up 10 per cent from 129,000 tons in 2011.


Farm gate values for apples in the Okanagan went up from $38 million in 2011 to $51 million in 2016, an increase of 35 per cent, while tonnage went up from 106,599 tons in 2011, to 110,305 tons in 2016, a four per cent increase. Acreage in


apples was up six per cent, from 8,287 acres in 2011 to 8,800 acres in 2016.


Cherry value was up 69 per cent, from $31 million in 2011 to $52 million in 2016. Production was up 59 per cent, from 10,329 tons in 2011 to 16,470 in 2016.


Acreage was up 11 per cent, from 3,233 acres in 2011 to 3,580 in 2016. Table and wine grape value was up 38 per cent, from $41 million to $57 million, while acreage was up from 8,606 acres in 2011 to 9,343 acres in 2016, a nine per cent increase.


Compared to the rest of Canada, AGRICULTURAL NETTING & FABRICS


  


 


 British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2017


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