WINFIELD, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Aug. 28, 2013) - A decades-old Winfield apple packinghouse line is being upgraded with next-generation technologies thanks to funding announced today by federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and British Columbia Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm.
BC Tree Fruits Cooperative is receiving $735,150 to assist with the purchase and installation of the new packing line, which will increase efficiency by lowering packing costs and increasing competitiveness for the overall operation and producers.
"Our government remains focused on the priorities of Canadians-jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity," said Minister Ritz. "This investment in new technology will lower operating costs and lead to higher-quality tree fruits for consumers. It will also ensure our tree fruit producers can meet market demands and remain competitive in the global marketplace."
"Okanagan growers produce tree fruit that is enjoyed at home and around the world, and it helps drive our agriculture sector's economy," said Minister Pimm. "This funding will help the tree fruit industry get their products to market more efficiently and earn more dollars."
"BC Tree Fruits Cooperative thanks both the federal and provincial governments for their continued support," said Alan Tyabji, Chief Executive Officer of BC Tree Fruit Ltd. "This investment not only shows commitment to the industry, but it has enabled the Cooperative to remain competitive with Washington State shippers."
This initiative builds on a broader strategy to streamline and improve operations across the organization that also included a $2.7-million federal and provincial government investment to upgrade the storage facilities at the packinghouse. Both projects support industry efforts to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the sector.
In 2010, the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia together contributed $5 million to the Tree Fruit Market and Infrastructure Initiative. The federal funding investment is made through the Agricultural Flexibility Fund, a five-year fund created to help the sector reduce costs of production, improve environmental sustainability, promote innovation, and respond to emerging opportunities and market challenges.
For more information about the Agricultural Flexibility Fund, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/agriflexibility.