Kelowna, B.C. – The B.C. tree fruit industry is receiving funding to go toward a tree fruit replant program.
The province announced that it is investing $8.4 million for the seven-year tree fruit replant program that will help growers meet consumers’ growing demand for high-value B.C. fruit.
Starting in the spring of 2015 through to the 2021 season, growers will be able to apply for the new program.
The government estimates that more than 600 hectares or 1,500 acres of orchards will be replanted over the next seven years providing 2,600 jobs each year for the Okanagan region.
“Growers are genuinely excited about the announcement of the replant program as the government set a goal of a sustainable, long-term replant program, and today this promise is delivered,” says Fred Steele, the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president.
“The program matches the long-term nature of growing apples and cherries, as well as soft fruits, and it is not only appreciated, it is essential to our future. Thank you to the government MLAs and the Premier for making replant a priority.”
This new program will build on the recent success of growers who replanted low-value orchards with high-demand and high-quality varieties like Ambrosia apples and late-season cherries.
C. growers produced Canada’s second-largest tree fruit crop in 2013, generating almost $103 million in farm case receipts.
Program application and criteria will soon be available on the B.C.
Fruit Growers Association website.
- B.C.’s two largest tree-fruit crops are apples and sweet cherries.
- In 2013, B.C. growers produced more than 103,000 tonnes of tree fruits including apples, sweet cherries, peaches, pears, plums/prunes, nectarines and apricots, as well as other tree fruits. This is almost a quarter of the total Canadian production.
- B.C. exported $41.7 million in cherries in 2013 with the top markets in Hong Kong, U.S., Taiwan and China.
- B.C. apple exports have increased almost 30% in the past two years. In 2013, B.C. exported $19.1 million in apples and top three markets were the U.S., Mexico and Taiwan.
- The B.C. tree fruit packing industry has just completed more than $5 million in upgrades to its fruit packing equipment and to help packinghouses modernize.
- In 2012, the province provided $2 million to fund a three-year replant program, resulting in 214 hectares (528 acres) being replanted.