Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Perennial Crop Renewal Program aimed at farm business stabilization


Perennial Crop Renewal Program aimed at farm business stabilization

Sunday April 30, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated May 1, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Helping farmers be profitable through sustainable production is the objective of BC’s new Perennial Crop Renewal Program, announced this weekend by Agriculture and Food Minister Pam Alexis in Langley, BC.

A new program will revitalize hazelnut, grape, berry and tree-fruit production and increase the competitiveness and resiliency of B.C. farm businesses while supporting food security.

pam alexis, agriculture, vineyard
Agiriculture and Food Minister Pam Alexis in Langley to announce the Perennial Crop Renewal Program, April 30, 2023. [Twitter]

“The Perennial Crop Renewal Program is about renewal and ensuring our farmers are profitable and have sustainable production in the long run,” said Minister Alexis. “Our producers have faced recent challenges, such as extreme weather and disease, and by supporting them so they can plant more resilient, climate-friendly crops, we will improve their bottom line and strengthen both the food economy and food security in B.C.”

The Perennial Crop Renewal Program will provide as much as $15 million to support multiple sectors with potential agronomic and market opportunities. Funding will help farmers adapt to environmental and market conditions by supporting the removal, diversification or planting of perennial crops, ensuring British Columbians enjoy local produce for years to come.

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The amount of funding and project goals will vary by sector. Examples of crops eligible for the program include apples, cherries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries and hazelnuts.

This sounds primarily focused on the type of crops that flourish in the Fraser Valley area of the lower mainland but is open to farmers and producers province-wide.

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Tree stabilization:

Tree-fruit growers will also benefit from an additional $1 million of tree-fruit market development support to increase the competitiveness and profitability of B.C. apples in domestic and export markets.

The tree fruit industry in B.C. has about 400 commercial growers who farm approximately 15,000 acres of apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.

See: Tree Fruit Industry Stabilization Plan

Administration and application:

The Perennial Crop Renewal Program and the tree-fruit market-development funding will be administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF).

investment agriculture foundation, logo
Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF)

Perennial Crop Renewal Program applications and more details are available online.

Sector support:

“Tree-fruit growers in B.C. appreciate the investment in food security and ensuring that growers have the resources to renew their orchards,” said Sukhdeep Brar, vice-president, BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “The BC Fruit Growers’ Association thanks Minister Alexis for this vote of confidence in the local production of high-quality, B.C.-grown produce.”

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“The Perennial Crop Renewal Program will provide welcome support to the B.C. wine-grape industry, which contributes $3.75 billion annually to the province’s economy,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO, Wine Growers British Columbia. “The strength of our industry rests on the resilience of our vineyards, especially in the face of our changing climate.”

“IAF has built a strong relationship with B.C.’s perennial crop sectors since our inception more than 25 years ago,” said Jack DeWit, chair, IAF board of directors. “Using our administrative expertise, we look forward to continuing to work with and support the sectors to deliver these complex programs.”

Vancouver Island growing region:

According to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food the growing conditions on Vancouver Island suit a wide range of production including field crops, berries, tree fruits, dairy products, hogs, sheep and eggs as well as floriculture and ornamental crops.

map, vancouver island, sector
Vancouver Island and coastal region of BC. [Ministry of Agriculture and Food]

A growing organic and high-value sector includes vegetables, meat, dairy and beverages, as well as agri-tourism operatinos, artisan processors and cottage farms.

Agriculture in this region has normally benefited from a maritime climate of warm, dry summers, mild and wet winters and a long frost-free season, though the last few years of erratic weather and seasonal anomalies has challenged some growing success.

Soils vary greatly with the terrain. Some of the growing areas are within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Agri-tech is gaining attention as a way to work around reliance on weather and climate.

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===== RELATED:

Agricultural Land Reserve anniversary stirs remembrance of BC political directions (April 30, 2023)

Support for food-processing sector to help strengthen food security in BC (April 27, 2023)

Food security program toured by Education & Agriculture Ministers (April 25, 2023)

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Island Social Trends reports on socioeconomic trends on south Vancouver Island and in BC. The publication became fully online in mid-2020, after operating as a weekly print newspaper (West Shore Voice News 2014-2020, and before that Sooke Voice News 2011-2013 and MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010).

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has built the publication series from day one, including a lens to the politics behind the socioeconomic conditions that impact the lives of people on Vancouver Island and across BC.