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Hazelnut Renewal Program to boost B.C. production


October 4, 2021
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Hazelnut growers in British Columbia are being offered help planting new trees or removing infected ones through a new intake of the Hazelnut Renewal Program.

The program is revitalizing the B.C. hazelnut sector, supporting the dedicated people working in their orchards and encouraging those looking to begin a new career in hazelnut production. Growers with planting or removal projects between April 2021 and December 2021 are eligible for this program.

“B.C.’s hazelnut industry is a hidden gem, and it’s very encouraging to see it growing steadily these past few years as a result of our hazelnut renewal program,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture, food and fisheries, in a press release. “The program directly supports our growers while promoting local food security, and I look forward to seeing how these latest projects help regenerate our hazelnut orchards.”

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For several years, the B.C. hazelnut industry has been battling eastern filbert blight (EFB), which has affected hazelnut crops in the province.

Since the program began in 2018, growers’ response has increased tree-planting areas throughout B.C. Previously more concentrated in the Lower Mainland region, hazelnut acreage has since spread to the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands. Renewal programs have resulted in 38,780 new trees planted on 73.7 hectares (182 acres) and the removal of approximately 4,795 infected trees from 17.2 hectares (42.5 acres).

“The Hazelnut Renewal Program has been extremely valuable in encouraging the growth and regeneration of the hazelnut industry in B.C.,” said Steve Hope, president of the BCHGA, hazelnut grower and co-owner, Fraser Valley Hazelnuts Ltd. “The demand for local products continues to increase, and new growers will be needed to help keep up.”

Applications for funding will be available between Sept. 30 and Nov. 9.