Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Federal government supporting berry growers


May 31, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

May
20, 2010, Langley, BC – The Canadian government recently announced nearly $1.2
million in funding for two research projects to benefit berry growers in
British Columbia.



May
20, 2010, Langley, BC – The Canadian government recently announced nearly $1.2
million in funding for two research projects to benefit berry growers in
British Columbia.

The
investment will go towards two projects:

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  • The Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association (LMHIA) will receive
    more than $1.1 million under the Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative
    (DIAP), to help producers grow their businesses. Research will focus on
    developing new varieties, sustainable production and best practices for pest
    and disease management. While
    research will focus on the Pacific North West climate, the findings will help
    berry growers across the country improve production efficiency. 
  • The Abbotsford Growers Co-op will receive up to $27,812 through the Canadian
    Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP)
    , delivered by the Investment Agriculture
    Foundation of B.C.
    , to determine market opportunities for aseptic processed
    berries. The
    aseptic processing technology gives processed berries a longer shelf life. CAAP
    is a five-year (2009-2014), $163 million national initiative that aims to help
    the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. Funding for the project
    is subject to the signing of a contribution agreement.  

“The
Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association has a long history of
supporting meaningful research to improve the competitiveness of our growers,”
said Alf Krause, LMHIA president. “Additional support from DIAP will enable us
to expand our efforts to help build a strong, market-focused, sustainable berry
industry.”

Abbotsford
Growers Cooperative
is pleased to receive funding for the market development
assessment of aseptic processing of raspberries within Canada,” said Moe Gill,
chair of the Abbotsford Growers Cooperative. “We are excited to offer a green
alternative to the fruit processing industry of Canada. Aseptic purees reduce
the need to keep raspberries block frozen, creating significant savings to
fruit processors and the environment, while continuing to offer the consumer
quality raspberries.”

Berries
are one of the fastest growing categories of the fresh and frozen fruit sector,
fuelled by new information about their health attributes. The B.C. berry
industry has enjoyed remarkable growth over the past few years, reaching a farm
gate value of around $130 million for blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and
strawberries. 

Developing
new berry varieties is a necessary long-term process to ensure the future
stability of the Canadian berry industry. Improved qualities, such as
resilience against pests and disease, will increase berry yields and allow
growers to expand markets both at home and globally.