Province provides $5M to aid competitiveness

BCFGA welcomes new fund, which will go toward research,marketing and infrastructure.


ree fruit growers throughout the province will be able to update aging equipment and infrastructure while increasing their marketing and research efforts thanks to the new $5 million Tree Fruit Competitiveness Fund announced at this year’s B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association general meeting.

“This fund will help family-run orchards and the sector as a whole with advancements that make B.C. tree fruit more competitive in the marketplace,” said Agriculture Minister Lana Popham.

“The $5 million investment reflects this government’s commitment to partner with B.C. growers to help modernize their practices, and help them share their great-tasting apples, cherries and other fruits, with more customers here at home and around the world,” Popham said.

The fund will be open to tree fruit growers, producers, and processors to support three key areas of priority: • Research: cultivar, disease and pest research.

• Marketing: export market opportunities and market development research.

• Infrastructure: sector-based infrastructure modernization such as new equipment. “This funding is so important to the future of our industry,” said Fred Steele, outgoing president of the BCFGA.

“We need help controlling new invasive pests like the Brown Marmorated Stinkbug, and marketing is an area where we need to invest in new varieties. “This funding will also help with our very successful replant program. This investment, at a time when we are challenged in the marketplace, will ensure that we continue to make progress that leads to a bright future

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for the tree fruit sector. The government is fulfilling its promise made during the election campaign.” Steele, who stepped aside after five years at the helm, was succeeded as president by Oliver grower Pinder Dahliwal, who served as vice- president during Steele’s tenure. Also on the association’s 2018 board are vice-president Peter Simonsen and directors Ravinder Bains, Sukhdeep Brar, David Dobernigg, Karmjit Gill, Sukhdev Goraya and David Machial. This year, the province provided an additional $300,000 in funding for

Agriculture minister Lana Topham

the replant program. It is anticipated the fund will be active for the next three to four years.

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