Canada’s new agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a $4.2M investment under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), AgriScience Program to the British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association, during her stop March 11, 2019 in Kelowna, B.C.
The funding will support the association in developing successful Canadian-bred apple and sweet cherry cultivars that enhance the profitability of the nation’s tree fruit sector.
The project, which builds on research funding received under previous agricultural programs, consists of 10 activities, with research and testing taking place in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
Erin Wallich, research and development manager for Summerland Varieties Corporation, is the project administrator. She noted that Dr. Amritpal Singh will be collaborating with Dr. Daryl Somers at Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to modernize breeding and selection techniques. For example, they will be able to determine if an apple tree will produce crisp fruit before it is even old enough to flower. Other researchers include: Dr. Peter Toivonen, Dr. Masoumeh Bejeia, Dr. Hao Xu and Dr. Paul Wiersma.
On the industry side, Summerland Varieties Corporation will be planting and evaluating new sweet cherry cultivars in British Columbia and they will be working closely with the Ontario Apple Growers, Quebec’s Apple Cultivar Research Network (RECUPOM) and Scotian Gold in Nova Scotia to establish the newest apple selections in all major apple-growing regions of the country.
"Research enables change,” said Pinder Dhaliwal, president of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. “The CAP funding provided for this project will help the industry develop and adopt the exciting new varieties developed at Summerland Research and Development Centre. The funding includes a number of activities to improve yields and quality of apples and cherries as well as to test the new varieties in a range of climates across Canada.”
The March 11 announcement is part of Minister Bibeau’s first agricultural tour, where she is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders.
Source: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada March 11, 2019 news release