Food In Canada

News

B.C. tree fruit industry hit hard by bad weather

Hailstorms and frost in B.C. have caused up to Cdn$18 million in damages to the tree fruit industry


Kelowna, B.C. – Hailstorms and spring frost this year have caused up to Cdn$18 million in damage to tree fruits.

The KelownaCapNews.com reports that the amount is two or three times the normal amount of weather-related damage fruit tree growers normally claim through production insurance from the business risk management branch of the provincial agriculture ministry.

In total so far there have been 1,200 claims, Gary Falk, director of the branch, told the KelownaCapNews.com.

The bad weather continued past the normal hail period of mid-July to mid-August, with a hailstorm on Sept. 30 that affected growers throughout the Okanagan Valley, Falk told the newspaper.

Already CDN$2 million has been paid out to growers who sustained damage. But many growers, reports the KelownaCapNews.com, will defer their claims until 2014 when they receive their packout numbers and know what they will receive for this season’s fruit. They’ll also know by then how much of it had to be diverted to juice or was downgraded because of damage.

To estimate the damage, crop insurance adjusters had to wait until harvest, when they can assess damage related to production.

Up to 80 per cent of the damage was from hailstorms that moved through the valley during the summer. One of the more devastating hailstorms happened in mid-August.

After that storm, reports the KelownaCapNews.com, growers were left with fruit that was cut as well as bruised by hailstones and some crops were a complete write-off.

In addition to tree fruits, Falk told the newspaper that another Cdn$500,000 in damage was sustained by the grape industry.

It’s estimated that this year’s payout will be more than 50 per cent above premiums paid, said Falk.