Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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Government of Canada supports innovation in British Columbia’s berry industry


July 8, 2019
By AAFC

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Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon recently visited the Berry Haven Farm, where they announced an investment of up to $3.6 million to the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association (LMHIA) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program.

This funding will support the LMHIA in improving efficiency in production and quality of berries, enhancing the industry’s ability to adapt to a changing climate, and improving clean growth practices through sustainable management of disease and pests.

This project builds on research conducted through funding received under previous agricultural policy frameworks. It will have an expanded scope of activities with enhanced cross-commodity cooperation between berry producers across a variety of disciplines, including breeding, pathology, horticultural management and entomology.

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“Our Government is committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that it has access to the research and scientific support necessary to compete and succeed for years to come. Our investment will help British Columbia fruit growers improve their production capacity in an environmentally sustainable way and adapt to the challenges ahead,” said Minister Bibeau. 

In 2018, British Columbia’s berry industry generated more than $234 million. The Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association was formed in 1958 and represents British Columbia’s horticulture commodities, including approximately 1,000 berry producers.

“The Federal government’s investment in plant breeding and applied research addresses several critical needs for Canadian blueberry, raspberry and strawberry farmers who rely on development of superior varieties with greater fruit yields and quality as well as technical innovations that address pest, disease and horticultural management challenges. Moreover, this partnership with government is essential to the long-term viability of berry production in Canada because it supports competitiveness in the global marketplace for berries,” said Eric Gerbrandt, Ph.D., research director, British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC), Raspberry Industry Development Council (RIDC), British Columbia Strawberry Growers Association (BCSGA)