New funding for fruit growers

The province’s tree fruit industry is getting more support from both the Federal and Provincial government for projects that will introduce new technology, says Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan.

"B.C. has a strong reputation around the world for producing top-quality tree fruits, such as apples and cherries," says Cannan.

"These projects and leading-edge technologies will increase profitability and ensure that the region's producers remain industry leaders on the domestic and international stage."

Cawston Cold Storage is receiving more than $106,000 to assist with new storage technology. The investment will enhance the movement of product in and out of cold storage, with the facilities goal of extending the BC organic apple season by maximizing storage quality.

"With this funding we are able to secure much needed long-term storage for our products, and this innovative facility will help the B.C. organic agriculture industry remain strong for future generations," said Dan Taylor, operations manager with Cawston Cold Storage.

Coral Beach Farms in Lake Country is receiving over $35,000 in funding for an innovative software program that will automate the sorting of stemless cherries.

This project is expected to add value and reduce labour costs by introducing new technologies not in use by the B.C. tree fruit industry. The automatic sorting of cherries with and without stems will help the sector take advantage of higher-value export markets that pay a premium for stemmed cherries, leading to increased profitability for farmers.

"This new technology enables us to target specific packs of cherries to specific markets in a very cost effective manner," said Coral Beach Farms president David Geen.

"We are appreciative of the support provided through the Agriflex program, which allows us to better serve our customers and compete in global markets."

Four other projects will also receive funding totalling over $66,000.

The Jind Fruit Company is receiving just over $26,000 for a project to improve cold-storage air quality and conditions at a packinghouse in Osoyoos. The Okanagan Kootenay Cherry Growers' Association is receiving over $21,000 for two spotted wing drosophila larvae management projects and the BC Fruit Growers Association Research and Development Test Orchard is receiving $19,200 for the creation of quality standards for all cherry-packing organizations.

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