The B.C. government’s popular seven-year tree fruit replant program will now assist even more growers with an additional $1 million in funding over the duration of the program, Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson and Penticton MLA Dan Ashton announced today, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.
Today’s announcement, with BC Fruit Growers’ Association representatives and local growers in attendance, was made in the Okanagan Valley, an area where the majority of British Columbia’s tree fruit growers call home. The new funding is another step in the B.C. government’s commitment to support B.C.’s tree fruit growers who have made the decision to replant their orchards with high-value, high-quality fruit varieties that are enjoyed by consumers locally and around the world.
For the 2016-17 season, it is estimated that $300,000 of the new funding will be available and this will assist more than two dozen additional projects with 122 additional acres being replanted. In total, the Province’s tree fruit replant program is committing $9.4 million that will see at least 1,600 acres replanted by 2021, providing more than 2,600 jobs each year for the Okanagan.
The application intake for the 2016-17 season was so successful it was significantly oversubscribed and has now closed. The new funding applications for the 2017-18 season will be available on the Ministry of Agriculture website this fall. Additional information is available here: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/treefruit-replant-program
Increasing production, driving competitiveness and building markets are three key priorities of the B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan that has an overall goal of growing the B.C. agrifoods sector to a $15 billion dollar-a-year industry by 2020.
Linda Larson, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen –
“Given the high interest in the replant program, the B.C. government wanted to ensure there was adequate funding to meet the demand. I want to congratulate the Okanagan tree-fruit sector on receiving the new funding and I wish them continued success as they reposition their orchards to high-value and high-quality fruit.”
Dan Ashton, MLA for Penticton –
“We heard loud and clear from growers that the replant program is a huge success for replanting low-value orchards with high-demand varieties like Ambrosia and Honeycrisp apples and late-season cherries. This funding commitment will provide even more farming families with the chance to earn a higher income as they continue to support their local community.”
Fred Steele, president, BC Fruit Growers’ Association –
“The replant program is critical to the renewal and growth of our industry, especially for cherry and apple production and the popularity of the program has caught everyone by surprise. The new funding announced today will help accelerate renewal and this is very positive news for growers.”
- B.C. growers produced Canada’s second largest tree fruit crop in 2014, including more than 126,000 tonnes of apples, sweet cherries, peaches, pears, plums/prunes, nectarines and apricots.
- There are nearly 6,000 tree fruit orchards in B.C., with the majority located in the Okanagan Valley.
- Apples account for the majority of land in tree fruits with 62%, followed by sweet cherries at 22%.
November 2014 news release announcing the seven-year replant program: https://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/11/bc-tree-fruit-sector-to-benefit-with-sustainable-long-term-replant-program.html
BC Fruit Growers’ Association: http://www.bcfga.com/
B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/strategic-growth-plan.pdf