Blueberries stock

Jul 5, 2019
British Columbia’s berry industry gets $3.6M investment

Canadian officials July 4 visited the Berry Haven Farm, where they announced an investment of up to $3.6 million to the Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association (LMHIA) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Program.

The funding will support the LMHIA in improving efficiency in production and quality of berries, enhancing the industry’s ability to adapt to a changing climate, and improving clean growth practices through sustainable management of disease and pests.

This project, which builds on previous research, expands the scope of activities with enhanced cross-commodity cooperation between berry producers across a variety of disciplines, including breeding, pathology, horticultural management and entomology.

“Access to the best cultivars of blueberry, raspberry and strawberry is essential for our local berry growers because they are striving to deliver the highest quality fruit to customers in both domestic and international markets,” David Mutz, Treasurer of Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association, said in a press release. This is why LMHIA is so excited to partner with the federal government to continue our long-term effort in breeding of new berry cultivars, developing better horticultural methods and improving control of economically important pests and diseases. This work is truly central to sustaining our competitiveness with other regions and ensuring a future for Canadian berry growers.”

In 2018, British Columbia’s berry industry generated more than $234 million. The Lower Mainland Horticultural Improvement Association was formed in 1958 and represents British Columbia’s horticulture commodities, including approximately 1,000 berry producers.

“The Federal government’s investment in plant breeding and applied research addresses several critical needs for Canadian blueberry, raspberry and strawberry farmers who rely on development of superior varieties with greater fruit yields and quality as well as technical innovations that address pest, disease and horticultural management challenges,” said Eric Gerbrandt, Ph.D., Research Director, British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC), Raspberry Industry Development Council (RIDC), British Columbia Strawberry Growers Association (BCSGA). “Moreover, this partnership with the government is essential to the long-term viability of berry production in Canada because it supports competitiveness in the global marketplace for berries.”

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