Government of Canada supports innovation in British Columbia’s berry industry

News release

July 4, 2019 – Abbotsford, British Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon visited the Berry Haven Farm, where they announced an investment of up to $3.6 million to the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association (LMHIA) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program.

This funding will support the LMHIA in improving efficiency in production and quality of berries, enhancing the industry’s ability to adapt to a changing climate, and improving clean growth practices through sustainable management of disease and pests.

This project builds on research conducted through funding received under previous agricultural policy frameworks. It will have an expanded scope of activities with enhanced cross-commodity cooperation between berry producers across a variety of disciplines, including breeding, pathology, horticultural management and entomology.

Quotes

“Our Government is committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that it has access to the research and scientific support necessary to compete and succeed for years to come. Our investment will help British Columbia fruit growers improve their production capacity in an environmentally sustainable way and adapt to the challenges ahead.”
-   Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Finding innovative ways to boost production of British Columbia’s high-quality fruit, while protecting the environment, is important research that the Government of Canada is proud to support.  By funding projects like this, our Government is ensuring our producers are able to keep up with demand and remain competitive.”
-  Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon

“Access to the best cultivars of blueberry, raspberry and strawberry is essential for our local berry growers because they are striving to deliver the highest quality fruit to customers in both domestic and international markets.  This is why LMHIA is so excited to partner with the federal government to continue our long-term effort in breeding of new berry cultivars, developing better horticultural methods and improving control of economically important pests and diseases.  This work is truly central to sustaining our competitiveness with other regions and ensuring a future for Canadian berry growers.”
-   David Mutz, Treasurer, Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association

“The Federal government’s investment in plant breeding and applied research addresses several critical needs for Canadian blueberry, raspberry and strawberry farmers who rely on development of superior varieties with greater fruit yields and quality as well as technical innovations that address pest, disease and horticultural management challenges.  Moreover, this partnership with government is essential to the long-term viability of berry production in Canada because it supports competitiveness in the global marketplace for berries.”
-   Eric Gerbrandt, Ph.D., Research Director, British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC), Raspberry Industry Development Council (RIDC), British Columbia Strawberry Growers Association (BCSGA)

Quick facts

  • In 2018, British Columbia’s berry industry generated more than $234 million.

  • The Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association was formed in 1958 and represents British Columbia’s horticulture commodities, including approximately 1,000 berry producers. 

  • The AgriScience Program aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians.

  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector. The Partnership includes programs and activities to enhance the competitiveness of the sector through research, science and innovation. These funds will support three projects led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists at research centres in Agassiz, B.C. and Kentville, Nova Scotia.

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Contacts

Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
justine.lesage@canada.ca
Mobile: 613-404-1168

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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1-866-345-7972
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