Greenhouse Canada

News
BC may revive ‘Buy Local’ produce campaign


February 1, 2010
By Ron Seymour The Canadian Press

Feb. 1, 2010, Kelowna, B.C. — A sense of deep pessimism hangs
over the Okanagan’s troubled fruit industry, B.C. Agriculture and Lands
Minister Steve Thomson heard Saturday in Kelowna.



Feb. 1, 2010, Kelowna, B.C. — A sense of deep pessimism hangs
over the Okanagan’s troubled fruit industry, B.C. Agriculture and Lands
Minister Steve Thomson heard Saturday in Kelowna. Those attending the 121st
B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association’s annual convention told Thomson low apple
prices have many orchardists wondering if they’ll be able to continue farming.

Advertisment

“Our dreams are turning into nightmares,’’ Kelowna grower
Tarsem Goraya said.

“This is an industry in crisis,’’ Fred Steele, another Kelowna
grower, said. “Soon, we’ll be on life support, and once we’re dead, it really
won’t matter.’’

Prices for many apple varieties have fallen below the cost of
production, continuing a sharp two-year drop in farm receipts. “We’re looking
for some help here,’’ said Vernon grower Jeet Dukhia, who complained the budget
of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands was one of the lowest of any such
agency in Canada.

For his part, Thomson acknowledge the ministry’s budget had
been scaled back, along with those of many other departments, as government
revenues decline during the recession. The provincial government is trying to
preserve spending on core programs such as health, education and social
services, in part by transferring money from other departments, Thomson said.

“I know that has impacted our budget,’’ he said. “You’ll hear
the same comment from other ministers.’’

Some growers questioned the government’s spending on the
Winter Olympics, but Thomson said the Games would provide an opportunity to
“celebrate and recognize’’ the province’s agricultural sector.

Still, he said it would be “short-sighted and naive’’ for
government not to acknowledge the serious challenges confronting all aspects of
the agricultural economy.

A new version of the long-dormant “Buy B.C.’’ marketing
program, which encouraged consumers to purchase produce grown in the province,
could soon be revived, Thomson suggested. “It’s my goal – one of our priorities
within the ministry – to try to get a program back in place that achieves that
goal.’’

A new version of the program might focus on creating consumer
awareness of and support for specific growing regions, such as the Okanagan and
Vancouver Island, Thomson said. That approach could dovetail with the
preference of a growing number of people to buy food that is produced from
nearby locations, rather than shipped over great distances.

“That (preference) is clearly not just a fad,’’ Thomson said.
“It’s something that can position us for the future.’’

Joe Sardinha will stay at the helm of the association for the
sixth straight year. The Summerland orchardist was returned to the president’s
position by acclamation during the convention.

 

 


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*