Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Canada invests in fruit research, innovation


February 2, 2010
By Marg Land


Topics

January 29, 2010,
Kelowna, BC – New apple and sweet cherry varieties will help Canadian tree
fruit growers expand production and give them a competitive edge in markets
around the world.



January 29, 2010,
Kelowna, BC – New apple and sweet cherry varieties will help Canadian tree
fruit growers expand production and give them a competitive edge in markets
around the world.

Agriculture Minister Gerry
Ritz and MP Ron Cannan (Kelowna-Lake Country) recently announced that the
Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation will receive up to $2.3 million to
enhance and accelerate the commercialization of new high-quality varieties.

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“The Government of
Canada is working to deliver a strong future for Canadian tree fruit growers
through investments in science and innovation,” said Ritz. “Growers need new
varieties to remain competitive and this investment will help growers deliver
high quality food to Canadians and consumers around the world.”

The investment will help
the development of new varieties that appeal to consumers, tree fruit breeding
and refining horticultural practices. The commercialization of new apple and
sweet cherry varieties will help expand domestic production and increase
exports of tree fruit products.

The majority of fruit
grown in Canada comes from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Through the
intermediary of the Réseau d’essais de cultivars et de porte-greffes de
pommiers (RECUPOM)
, Quebec will also contribute $140,000 to the project,
$80,000 of which will come from the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food (MAPAQ)
. The RECUPOM brings together many players of Quebec’s apple
growing sector, namely those affiliated with the Federation of Quebec Apple
Growers
, MAPAQ, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, technical support clubs and
various Quebec businesses.

“This exciting
collaborative partnership with the Canadian government will build on the
long-standing and successful relationship that our company has enjoyed in
representing the tree fruit breeding programs in Canada,” said John Kingsmill,
CEO of Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation. “With this project PICO enters
into a new phase that will benefit Canadian growers and consumers alike by
enabling us to better manage the development, selection, testing, evaluation
and uptake of new high quality apple and cherry varieties.”

Canada is a leader in
developing and bringing new tree fruit varieties to market. In 2008, apple and
sweet cherry varieties accounted for 77 per cent of the farm gate value of tree
fruits grown in Canada, with sweet cherry production valued at $25 million and
the farm gate value of apples at $178 million.