By Times Chronicle Staff
Okanagan apple growers, including those in Oliver and Osoyoos, will benefit from a $2.5 million funding boost, according to the BC government.
The money over two years will support crop health, fruit production, apple marketing and skills training.
It includes establishing a tree fruit extension program that will provide on-farm support to an estimated 250 growers each year.
Tree fruit grower Rick Machial from Fairview Orchards in Oliver is happy with that announcement.
“Having experts available to growers as a resource for horticultural advice is a huge plus for growers with a focus on high-value apples.”
The funding supports the Okanagan Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Program to reduce the risk of known fruit pests and improves the quality and quantity of apple and cherry harvests.
It also works with the tree fruit industry on a domestic and international marketing strategy for BC apples, highlighting key market opportunities, consumer preferences, market pricing and logistics.
In addition, the funding will support Okanagan College in developing a tree fruit-specific certificate course to increase industry capacity and help meet labour needs.
Machial said the extension program can help people transition their business models from producing quantity to producing quality, which “offers a much better financial return, and in my view, is one key element to the stability of our industry.”
Coming from a farming family, Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu said he knows how hard farmers work and how difficult these past few years have been for them.
“This funding will support the industry as it works toward its goals of increased production, competition and skills training for a new generation of growers.”
The tree-fruit industry in BC has approximately 400 commercial growers who farm approximately 6,070 hectares (15,000 acres) of apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and plums.
Okanagan apple growers receive $2.5M funding Source link Okanagan apple growers receive $2.5M funding