British Columbia’s Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association is set to receive $200,000 in annual federal and provincial government funding for the next five years to improve berry genetics. Results from the research will support a plant breeding program that produces superior blueberry, raspberry and strawberry varieties, suited to the local climate.
The program is expected to lead to improved crops, higher fruit quality and increased pest and disease resistance.
“The B.C. berry industry has identified plant breeding as the single most important research priority to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said Sukh Kahlon, president, BC Raspberry Growers’ Association. “We are pleased that the province recognizes the importance of developing new varieties, as this partnership will support our industry’s long-term viability."
There are more than 600 blueberry growers, 100 raspberry growers and 50 strawberry growers in B.C.
In 2017, B.C. growers harvested:
$136 million worth of blueberries;
$20 million worth of raspberries; and
$6.4 million worth of strawberries.
Source: B.C. ministry of agriculture May 11, 2019 news release