Government of Canada invests in British Columbia’s fruit industry to help grow the economy

News release

June 2, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canada’s fruit industry is an important contributor to the Canadian economy and plays a key role in keeping our food supply steady and strong. Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of over $700,000 for four projects in British Columbia’s fruit sector that will increase exports and help to grow the economy.

With funds under the federal AgriMarketing and AgriScience Programs, these projects will help growers become more competitive and increase their sales in important export markets, while supporting the continued growth and success of the Canadian fruit industry. The projects include:

  • The British Columbia Blueberry Council – up to $335,169 to expand global demand for highbush blueberries with the aim of diversifying markets outside the United States.
  • The BC Cherry Association – up to $236,847 to identify new opportunities to gain access to new export markets and increase export values through promotion of Canadian cherries.
  • The British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association – up to $67,516 to evaluate fruitlet and leaf nutrient composition as a tool for assessing sweet cherry nutrient status and associated post-storage fruit quality. This research will help growers increase productivity by producing high-quality cherries that are optimized for storage quality, for both export and domestic markets.
  • The British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association – up to $61,985 to develop and implement tools for the detection and diagnosis of the Little Cherry Virus and the Western X Phytoplasma. The knowledge generated through this research will help the sector better understand emergent diseases and support improved management strategies.

Even in the face of labour, market and extreme weather challenges, the fruit industry continues to be a strong and vibrant driver of the Canadian economy. Growers also rely on exporting to remain resilient and well-positioned for the future. Canada’s fruit exports have grown by 30% over the last five years to reach an all-time high of over $904 million in 2021. These investments will help the industry build on this momentum to seize new market opportunities for their high-quality products.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the fruit industry with the tools they need to remain resilient, competitive and create sustainability in Canada’s agriculture sector.

Quotes

“Canada’s fruit growers continue to adapt and innovate to support a strong food supply. This investment will help growers expand their export markets as well as support cutting-edge research that will help them remain resilient and ensure their high-quality products meet consumer demands here and around the world.”

-   The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food 

“The fruit industry is vital to British Columbia’s agricultural sector and economy. The Government of Canada is partnering with industry to help expand into new international markets and undertake important research to help growers become even more sustainable and competitive.”

-   Taleeb Noormohamed, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville

“The AgriMarketing program is very valuable to our industry. AAFC’s support has been vital, greatly contributing towards the gaining of new ground in target markets.”

-   BC Blueberry Council

“The AgriMarketing program funding means that we can ensure that export programs are affordable for growers, and allows us to work on gaining access to new international markets and promote cherries domestically and overseas. A significant portion of the current success of the Canadian cherry industry can be attributed to ongoing funding received through this program.”

-   Sukhpaul Bal, President, BC Cherry Association 

“The funding received through the AgriScience Program will support the development of effective tools for detecting Little Cherry Disease in BC orchards as a first step toward preventing the spread of a potentially costly disease. Funding will also help optimize tree nutrient status relative to fruit quality so that only the highest quality cherries will be sent to valuable export markets in the US and China.”

-   Erin Wallich, Canadian Agricultural Partnership Administrator for British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3-billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

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Quick facts

  • Fruits accounted for 18% of total farm cash receipts for edible horticulture in Canada in 2021. In 2021, British Columbia accounted for the largest share of fruit sales (36%), followed by Ontario (26%) and Quebec (24%). The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3-billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a $3-billion, five-year (2018-2023) investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

  • The AgriMarketing Program, a federally funded program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, aims to increase and diversify exports to international markets and seize domestic market opportunities through industry-led promotional activities that differentiate Canadian products and producers, and leverage Canada’s reputation for high-quality and safe food.

  • The AgriScience Program, a federally funded initiative under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, 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 British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association is an industry association representing BC fruit growers’ interests. It aims to provide value to members through services and products to growers.

  • The British Columbia Blueberry Council represents over 600 growers of highbush blueberries in British Columbia. It works collaboratively with growers, packers and processors to expand market opportunities for BC blueberries in Canada and abroad.

  • The BC Cherry Association represents growers, marketers, packers, researchers and industry members. It sponsors research to grow and deliver top quality cherries to markets around the world and also works to promote and strengthen marketing opportunities.

Associated links

Contacts

Marianne Dandurand
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
marianne.dandurand@agr.gc.ca
343-541-9229

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
1-866-345-7972
aafc.mediarelations-relationsmedias.aac@agr.gc.ca
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