Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

July 23, 2014 16:27 ET

Harper Government Supports New Market Opportunities for Blueberries

MAPLE RIDGE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 23, 2014) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Member of Parliament Randy Kamp (Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission) announced today an investment of over $117,000 to the British Columbia Blueberry Council to help high-bush blueberry growers showcase their world-class blueberries abroad and increase export sales.

This investment from the Government of Canada's AgriMarketing Program will help to the Council boost its international presence by strengthening relationships with importers of high-bush blueberries through trade missions and participation at major trade shows in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Quick Facts

  • The British Columbia Blueberry Council represents over 800 high-bush blueberry producers and is responsible for 96 per cent of Canada's total high-bush blueberry production.
  • British Columbia is the number one producer and exporter of high-bush blueberries in Canada and the third-largest in the world. In 2013, Canada exported $163 million worth of fresh and frozen high-bush blueberries to 20 different countries and British Columbia accounted for 92 per cent of Canada's total high-bush blueberry exports.
  • The recent Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two parties. Upon entry into force, CETA will eliminate tariffs on fresh, frozen and processed blueberries and other berries.
  • During the Minister's recent trade mission, China agreed to expedite work that will allow for the sale of fresh Canadian blueberries into China. Once fully implemented, the Canadian blueberry industry estimates this new access to be valued at up to $65 million annually.
  • This investment is made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.

Quotes

"Our government continues to support what matters most to Canadians-job creation, prosperity and the economy. This project will help blueberry producers stay ahead of the competition by forging strong relationships with buyers from around the world and increasing demand for our top-quality blueberries."

-Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

"Canada's blueberries are gaining recognition around the world for their many health benefits and superior quality. That is why we are helping our world-class blueberry producers expand and succeed abroad as a key part of our plan to create jobs and opportunities by opening new markets around the world for our exporters."

-Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

"The BC high-bush blueberry industry appreciates the government assistance in opening up new export markets. It will continue to allow our sector to be a major contributor to agriculture's stake in the Canadian economy."

-Debbie Etsell, Executive Director, British Columbia Blueberry Council

Additional links

Growing Forward 2 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

AgriMarketing Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Canada's Economic Action Plan)

Bilateral Meetings with China (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

British Columbia Blueberry Council

Contact Information

  • Jeff English
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    613-773-1059

    Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada

    Wendy Underwood
    Fever Pitch Marketing Communications Inc.
    604-418-5253
    wendy@feverpitchcommunications.com