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B.C. Tree Fruit Competiveness Fund opens to support growers

Staff Writer |
B.C. tree fruit growers and organizations can now apply for funding to help them become more competitive, so British Columbians can continue to enjoy fresh and local fruits.

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“Our producers provide amazing apples, cherries and tree fruits, and this fund is intended to ensure that continues,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.

“This investment shows that we are responding to the needs of tree fruit growers and are committed to helping them grow the outstanding quality and variety of fruit that B.C. is known for.”

The competiveness fund aligns with a recently updated industry strategy aiming to help B.C.’s growers maintain their reputation for innovative practices and quality products.

The fund will help growers increase efficiency, sales and productivity levels through projects that support:

- Infrastructure: modernization, such as new or innovative equipment

- Marketing: exploring export market opportunities and market development research

- Research: cultivator, disease and pest research

“The recently completed strategy sets out important criteria for a transformation in our industry,” said Glen Lucas, general manager, BC Fruit Growers' Association.

“The competitiveness fund will help industry to achieve new advantages in the marketplace for B.C. grown products.”

B.C.’s tree fruit industry is comprised of approximately 800 growers managing 6,474 hectares (16,000 acres) of tree fruit in crops in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Creston valleys. Those growers produced nearly 129,000 tonnes of fruit in 2016 worth more than $116 million.

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