B.C. agritech projects to support growers and producers
July 16, 2019 By The Government of B.C.
British Columbia’s agritech companies are partnering with the federal and provincial governments to find the perfect pairing between food and technology.
A number of innovative projects are receiving investments under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
B.C. pears are a delicacy, though their ripening time makes it difficult for British Columbians to enjoy this fruit consistently. Consolidated Fruit Packers Ltd. (CFP) of Kelowna is eager to change that by bringing innovative methods to the Canadian pear market.
Pears are a unique fruit because they are one of only a few fruit species that do not ripen on the tree. They require time for the sugars to develop off the branch, which can pose a challenge for consumers eager to enjoy a local pear. CFP is studying the process required to create a pre-conditioned pear that consumers will be able to take home and enjoy immediately or soon after purchase.
Defining the conditions that create the perfect pear will allow CFP to offer a local pear with a more consistent texture and flavour. Approaching this challenge from another angle, CFP is developing the optimal method of packaging to further enhance the sweet, juicy flavour that B.C. pears are known for, to provide consumers with the best eating experience.
This project is one of many examples of businesses partnering with the federal and provincial governments to help British Columbians access more local fruit and support growers and producers.
A project by Vancouver-based Vintality, a subsidiary of Geotronics Consulting Inc., is working with B.C. vineyards and fertilizer companies to boost yields and grape quality while lowering the amount of fertilizer needed to grow grapes.
Geotronics Consulting has designed a fertilizer trailer with GPS technology that will automatically dispense precise amounts of liquid fertilizer to targeted areas on the property thanks to its built-in program.
This will reduce the amount of fertilizer and water used in the vineyard while ensuring plants get the nutrients they need. The project is designed to increase the competitiveness of B.C.’s grape and wine industries by enhancing the tools growers, producers and processors can access to produce their products.
The CFP and Vintality projects are a small sample of the innovative ideas that B.C.-based organizations are working on to build a more sustainable future. Projects under the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program have received nearly $2.6 million in funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial agreement that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services through March 2023.
“It’s no secret that B.C. fruit tastes amazing. Finding innovative ways to improve access to pears and grapes for British Columbians while creating neat tools to support our growers, producers and processors is fantastic. It’s wonderful to see new technology supporting communities and industries throughout the province,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture.
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