Rains have delivered significant damage to the BC cherry crop this summer, limiting the volume of fruit heading to market.
But this week brought $241,000 worth of federal support for international marketing efforts under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriMarketing Program.
The funding, announced by federal justice minister David Lametti during a visit to Kelowna on August 13, will support BC Cherry Association efforts to boost awareness of fresh cherries from Canada in key markets and implement pest management protocols to satisfy import protocols in the US, South Korea, Japan and China.
Pest management protocols are often used as non-tariff barriers to Canadian products, so being able to demonstrate that sound protocols are being followed is of prime importance.
Japan, for example, demanded strict protocols to address fears of tobacco blue mold before it would allow imports of greenhouse-grown peppers from BC. Shipments began in 2016 after an arduous 25-year battle to allay concerns.
Similarly, China has taken issue with canola, pork and beef, citing issues related to product quality and documentation. While cherry exports have not been caught up in the kerfuffle, the concerns have not been far from growers’ minds.
The new funding aims to boost confidence in the quality of Canada’s agri-food exports, and also to facilitate the design and production of export labels that meet market-specific requirements.