Raspberry growers are receiving additional support to renew their industry.
The province is making $300,000 available to support the removal of old varieties and the replanting with new varieties suitable for both the fresh and individually quick frozen (IQF) markets. Similar to recent funding for the hazelnut sector’s renewal, the funding will also support strategic sector projects aimed at increasing sector competitiveness.
“This program will be imperative in helping raspberry farmers grow varieties that are better suited for the fresh and individually quick frozen markets,” says Raspberry Industry Development Council chair Jordan Alamwala of Townline Growers in Abbotsford.
Alamwala also expressed appreciation for the province’s continued support of the sector, which harvests approximately 5,149 tonnes of raspberries annually from nearly 2,350 acres.
An initial round of replant funding was announced last December, supporting a pilot program that helped the province gauge grower interest. The response was positive, and set the stage for the current funding.
According to the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, a total of $103,000 was allocated through the StrongerBC initiative designed to support the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The program, with matching funding from industry, saw 12 producers plant 46 acres with new varieties of raspberries.
With the longer lead time and greater allocation provided this year, uptake should see a significantly greater uptake among growers.
While many canes suffered winter damage in 2019, this year saw many fields damaged by high temperatures at the end of June. The damage compounded the economic challenges many growers have faced, making the timing of the current funding critical for many growers.
“This program will continue to ensure that our province will provide quality raspberries to Canadians and that our province will continue to be a leader in the fruit industry,” says RIDC vice-chair Paul Sidhu, of RPR Growers in Abbotsford.
The province is accepting applications to the raspberry replant program from October 12 to December 6 for plantings taking place in spring 2022.