The governments of Canada and British Columbia are investing in B.C.’s strawberry, blueberry and raspberry industries to help market competitiveness in berry production through innovative genetics and practices in the province.
“Our government is committed to ensuring our berry producers have the tools they need to succeed and be competitive,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “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.”
The Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association is set to receive $200,000 in annual funding for the next five years to improve berry genetics. Results from the research will support a plant breeding program that produces superior berry varieties suited to the local climate.
“The province’s berry industry is made up of hardworking families from all over the province,” said Lana Popham, B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture. “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.”
The program is expected to lead to improved crops, higher fruit quality and increased pest and disease resistance.
“The B.C. berry industry has identified plant breeding as the single most important research priority to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Sukh Kahlon, president, BC Raspberry Growers’ Association. “We are pleased that the Province recognizes the importance of developing new varieties, as this partnership will support our industry’s long-term viability."
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.
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