Langley, British Columbia – On behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell) and MP Mark Warawa (Langley) announced today an investment of over $2.8 million for the development of innovative production practices and quality pest management tools for Canada’s berry industry.
This investment to the Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association (LMHIA), under the AgriInnovation Program, will help develop innovative, environmentally-sound production practices, including high-quality berry cultivars that are resistant to pests and diseases. Berry producers will benefit from more efficient production practices and will be better positioned for long-term growth and profitability.
Through strategic partnerships with several industry groups, the LMHIA will also receive over $1 million in support from the B.C. Blueberry Council, the Raspberry Industry Development Council, the B.C. Cranberry Marketing Commission, and the B.C. Strawberry Growers Association. Other project partners will be providing in-kind support and expertise, such as the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, ES Cropconsult, the B.C. Institute of Technology, and the University of the Fraser Valley.
· The B.C. berry industry is a powerful driver of Canada’s economy. One of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture, the industry brought over $200 million to the farm gate in 2012. Berry exports have doubled in the past decade, topping more than $211 million last year.
· Our Government’s AgriInnovation Program is a five-year, up to $698-million initiative under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework. The industry-led research and development stream supports pre-commercialization research, development, and knowledge transfer leading to innovative agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based practices, processes, and products.
· This support from the AgriInnovation Program under Growing Forward 2, builds on previous research done under Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) as part of Growing Forward for research into cultivar breeding.
· Canada and the European Union (EU) have reached an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that will significantly boost trade and investment ties. Once ratified, EU tariffs on frozen blueberries will be eliminated.
“Our Government remains focused on the economy and our berry industry plays an important role in creating jobs and driving growth. B.C. is a top Canadian berry producer, and key investments in innovation like this one, will allow berry farmers to stay ahead of the competition and remain competitive in the global marketplace.”
-Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux
“Local berry farmers are an important part of the economy here in Langley. I am pleased that this investment will help the berry industry in the Fraser Valley and across the Lower Mainland continue to grow and prosper.”
-MP Mark Warawa
“The LMHIA, with its industry partners, is committed to fostering a profitable, sustainable horticulture industry through research and education. This support from the AgriInnovation Program will be invaluable in achieving these goals.”
-David Mutz, Chair, Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association
Growing Forward 2 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
AgriInnovation Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)
Comprehensive Economic Trade and Agreement (Canada’s Economic Action Plan)