Local cherries pick of the crop

B.C.’s cherry exports increased by 56 per cent in 2015 to 13,600 metric tonnes. They had a value of $91.7 million, a 70 per cent increase

  • Feb. 14, 2016 12:00 p.m.

The Okanagan’s cherry crop is popular.

B.C.’s cherry exports increased by 56 per cent in 2015 to 13,600 metric tonnes. They had a value of $91.7 million, a 70 per cent increase.

“The data also includes a significant rise in sour cherry exports from $2.7 million in 2014 to $11.2 million in 2015,” said Norm Letnick, agriculture minister and Lake Country MLA.

“Focusing on high-value B.C. products like late-season cherries is  key to growing the B.C. government’s agrifood sector to a $15- billion-a-year industry by 2020.”

In 2014, Letnick was part of a delegation that resulted in full access for fresh cherries into China.

“As a direct result of our efforts, the export value of fresh, sweet cherries to China has more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, rising from $9.9  million to $24 million,” he said.

“We are going to build on this momentum. Thanks to the close working  relationship with our provincial cherry industry, we look forward to  exploring new opportunities with Pacific Rim countries that recently signed the Trans Pacific Partnership.”