The 130-member BC Cherry Association is working hard to grow the Chinese market and to open markets in Japan and Korea says president Sukhpaul Bal.
The association worked tirelessly to open the Chinese market in 2014, however as Bal explains, it’s been a learning curve for growers ever since. The weather of the last two growing seasons has challenged farmers to produce the large size (8.5 to 9.5 row) required. The excessive rains of 2016, then the excessive heat of 2017 dented cherry volumes. Without an aggressive pruning regime to reduce crop load, the optimal sizing for cherries will not develop.
With these learnings, growers continue to expand their new plantings, some at higher elevations in the northern Okanagan Valley. One grower has a test block in Kamloops.
Plans to export cherries to Japan and South Korea are moving forward. The imminent signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is helpful, but Bal explains that the phytosanitary requirements for fruit are negotiated outside the agreement. Japan, for example, is worried about coddling moth. The scientific trials have been completed in British Columbia showing no evidence of coddling moth damage on cherries.
The association re-elected Sukhpaul Bal, Valley Orchards, for another term as president at its mid-February annual general meeting. He is joined by the following board of directors:
• Vice President: David A. Geen, Jealous Fruits & Coral Beach Farms
• Secretary: Graem Nelson, Consolidated Fruit Packers
• Treasurer: Erin Carlson, Carcajou Fruit Company & Savanna Ridge Orchard
• Neal Van der Helm, Laughing Coyote Orchard
• Chris Danninger, Danninger Orchards & NATFOR
• Hank Markgraf, BC Tree Fruit Cooperative
• Ravi Dhaliwal, Gian Dhaliwal Farms
• Dr. David H. Geen, Bertram Creek Farm
• Andre Bailey, Global Fruit Ltd
• Dariel Trottier, Consolidated Fruit Packers