British Columbia berries receive funding boost for innovation and market growth

From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 13, 2019 – Victoria, British Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture

The governments of Canada and British Columbia (B.C.) are investing in the B.C. strawberry, blueberry and raspberry industries to help market competitiveness in berry production through innovative genetics and practices in the province.

The Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association is set to receive $200,000 in annual funding a year for the next five years to improve berry genetics. Results from the research will support a plant breeding program that produces superior berry varieties that are suited to the local climate. The program is expected to lead to improved crops, higher fruit quality and increased pest and disease resistance.

The berry plant breeding program is supported by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The Partnership is a five-year, $3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring our berry producers have the tools they need to succeed and be competitive. This investment into berry plant breeding will give B.C. growers the best berry varieties suited to the local climate, helping them to meet growing consumer demand and create good middle class jobs.”

– Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“The province’s berry industry is made up of hardworking families from all over the province. This funding is supporting innovation and competitiveness for B.C.’s berries that will help give farmers a leading edge in the blueberry, raspberry and strawberry market.”

– Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture

“The B.C. berry industry has identified plant breeding as the single most important research priority to maintain competitiveness in the global market place. We are pleased that the Province recognizes the importance of developing new varieties as this partnership will support our industry’s long-term viability.”

– Sukh Kahlon, President, BC Raspberry Growers’ Association

Quick facts

  • There are over 600 blueberry growers, 100 raspberry growers and 50 strawberry growers in B.C.

  • In 2017, B.C. growers harvested:

    • $136 million of blueberries
    • $20 million of raspberries and
    • $6.4 million of strawberries

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