December 14, 2021 By Fruit and Vegetable
The province of British Columbia has released The Path Forward: A Blueprint for B.C.’s Tree Fruit Industry, which recommends several actions to address the leadership and governance of the sector, enhancing its competitiveness and building on the support provided by the B.C. government.
“B.C.’s tree fruit growers play a key role in our province’s food system and our government is committed to the industry’s lasting prosperity,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture, food and fisheries. “The recommendations from this plan provide a clear path on how the sector can change course as we all work together to ensure the economic viability and ongoing legacy of this century-old industry.”
B.C. tree fruit growers have faced some extreme challenges over the past years, including the pandemic and the loss of crops due to weather-related events. There has also been a decrease in acreage and profitability over the last decade.
“The Tree Fruit Industry Stabilization Plan is an important framework to help stabilize our industry. I appreciate how government has engaged us to tackle the important challenges, like climate change and labour, facing apple, cherry and other tree fruit producers. The long-term viability of the tree fruit industry is not only important to those in it, but to all British Columbians.”
– Sukhpaul Bal, grower and president, B.C. Cherry Growers Association
The stabilization project, led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries in consultation with an external advisory committee made up of key stakeholders, was launched in February 2021. The 19 recommendations in the stabilization plan were built from the extensive feedback received during 30 consultation sessions with more than 165 individuals representing all aspects of the industry, including producers, packers, marketers, retailers, researchers and government.
“The Tree Fruit Stabilization Initiative has been an intensive process. I believe the recommendations this group has put together will ultimately lead to a sustainable and successful tree fruit industry. However, there is a lot of work to do and this is just the beginning. It is important that all individuals and organizations involved in the sector look at these recommendations critically and aim to implement them in an effective manner.”
– Avi Gill, grower and director, B.C. Fruit Growers Association
Moving forward, the ministry and industry will work together toward implementing the recommendations in the report. Progress will be monitored consistently to ensure a solid path forward for the sector.
“The stabilization initiative is very timely and needed. I have been impressed by the process, including the thorough engagement sessions that provided the foundation for thoughtful, analytical and sometimes tough discussions about what industry and government do well, where improvements should be made and new ways to collaborate. I am hopeful that all parties will rally together to do the most difficult part of all: rolling up our sleeves to make sure the plan is put into action.”
– Melissa Teche, general manager, Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release
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