The provincial government is providing $2 million to the Okanagan's tree fruit industry.

The provincial government is providing $2 million to the Okanagan's tree fruit industry.

Okanagan fruit sector harvests $2 million in funding

Provincial grant will go towards replanting orchards with new varieties

  • May. 23, 2012 6:00 a.m.

The provincial government is providing tree fruit growers  with $2 million to help replant low-value orchards with high-demand  varieties.

The funding will help focus B.C. apple growers on a  “right variety, right size, right grade” strategy to serve high-value  fruit markets with apple varieties that thrive in B.C.’s climate.

“The funding will help ensure British Columbians have fresh, local  foods while bringing employment and business opportunities throughout  the fruit tree value chain,” said Agriculture Minister Don McRae.

The program, which also includes a grafting and budding component,  will operate for three years. Growers can apply to participate in the program at any time.

The program will be administered by the B.C. Fruit Growers Association,  in partnership with the B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation.

“Our  association has been working with the Province on ways to bring  sustainability to our industry, through the formation of the Tree  Fruit Industry Working Group and its recommendation for a replant program,” said Kirpal Boparai, BCFGA president.

B.C. produced 97,000 tonnes of apples in 2011, with about 75 per cent sold in Western Canada. B.C. also had apple exports of $11  million to the U.S. and $1 million to both Mexico and Vietnam.