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.