Red Delicious apple harvest in Summerland, 2016. (Black Press Media file)

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

Okanagan and Creston cherry and apple farms are abandoning some crops because they don’t have enough workers.

That’s according to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA), which said the worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international and domestic travel, preventing temporary workers from coming into the region.

“The tree fruit industry and the Ministry of Agriculture are asking local workers to consider helping with the harvest so that food waste is reduced,” the association said in a release.

Cherry producers have reported to the BCFGA that the labour shortage is causing them to “run out of time” and thus, are unable to harvest all their fruit.

The Ministry of Agriculture has launched a new job portal on its site to help link local workers to local farms.

“We want to ensure that Okanagan workers and farmers are making use of the Farm Fish and Food Job Locator,” agricultural minister Lana Popham said.

“Local food is so important to food security, and increased use of the portal will help growers get the crop harvested in this year of COVID-19 challenges.”

Executive director of the B.C. Blueberry Council Anju Gill said the portal highlights the employment opportunities in agriculture.

“We appreciate any assistance to find workers as the farm labour market is very challenging during the pandemic,” he said.

Late season cherry varieties are being harvested in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Creston valleys in August. The early apple variety Sunrise will start harvest next week in the South Okanagan and move to the North Okanagan later in August.

For more information, visit the provincial job portal to get connected to local farms or call 778-363-3620.

READ: Orchardists face challenges from COVID-19 pandemic

READ: New cherry packing facility to open near Ellison Lake this weekend


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ex-Kelowna city councillor reappointed to ALC

Gerry Zimmermann accepts another two year term to Agricultural Land Commission.

Two hurt in reported stabbing in Enderby

Police respond to reports of stabbing to find two men in similar condition near Canyon Road

Mandatory masks part of SilverStar’s winter plan

SilverStar starts season late to prepare for pandemic protocols

Creative thinkers wanted for North Okanagan hackathon

Talent-themed hackathon will take place at the VIEW in Vernon Oct. 29

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

Clean up effort ongoing after 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge

Spoon-wielding man draws police presence in Penticton

Police say no one was harmed during the incident

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

Most Read