Program gets boost

Okanagan fruit growers looking to replant orchards in 2017 can apply for funding now.

Okanagan fruit growers looking to replant orchards in 2017 can apply for funding now.

The funding is part of the provincial government’s seven-year, $9.4-millon tree fruit replant program to help B.C. growers plan and take advantage of local and international market opportunities for high-value B.C. apples and cherries.

“B.C. tree fruit growers recognize the opportunities are there for selling premium B.C. products locally and around the world, and our long-term replant program is helping them do it,” said Norm Letnick, agriculture minister and Lake Country MLA.

The program received a million-dollar boost in June 2016, which will result in about 25 additional farmers replanting 120 hectares this year, and more in the years to come. At least 647 hectares will be replanted under the program by 2021.

Application packages are available at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/treefruit-replant-program.

“The tree fruit replant program continues to revitalize our industry, in this third year of its operation,” said Fred Steele, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president.

“The program helps growers to retool and survive during the first five years after tree fruit is planted, as the trees mature before there is a crop.”