May 3, 2023 By Government of British Columbia
A new program launched by the Government of British Columbia will revitalize hazelnut, grape, berry and tree-fruit production and increase the competitiveness and resiliency of the province’s farm businesses while supporting food security.
The Perennial Crop Renewal Program will provide as much as $15 million to support multiple sectors with potential agronomic and market opportunities. Funding will help farmers adapt to environmental and market conditions by supporting the removal, diversification or planting of perennial crops, ensuring British Columbians enjoy local produce for years to come.
“The [program] is about ensuring our farmers are profitable and have sustainable production in the long run,” said Pam Alexis, B.C. minister of agriculture and food, in a statement. “Our producers have faced recent challenges, such as extreme weather and disease, and by supporting them so they can plant more resilient, climate-friendly crops, we will improve their bottom line and strengthen both the food economy and food security in B.C.”
The amount of funding and project goals will vary by sector. Examples of crops eligible for the program include apples, cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries and hazelnuts.
“The Perennial Crop Renewal Program will provide welcome support to the B.C. wine-grape industry, which contributes $3.75 billion annually to the province’s economy,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO, Wine Growers British Columbia, in a statement. “The strength of our industry rests on the resilience of our vineyards, especially in the face of our changing climate.”
Tree-fruit growers will also benefit from an additional $1 million of tree-fruit market development support to increase the competitiveness and profitability of B.C. apples in domestic and export markets.
“Tree-fruit growers in B.C. appreciate the investment in food security and ensuring that growers have the resources to renew their orchards,” said Sukhdeep Brar, vice-president, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, in a statement.
The Perennial Crop Renewal Program and the tree-fruit market-development funding will be administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF).
“IAF has built a strong relationship with B.C.’s perennial crop sectors since our inception more than 25 years ago,” said Jack DeWit, chair, IAF board of directors. “Using our administrative expertise, we look forward to continuing to work with and support the sectors to deliver these complex programs.”
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