Feds fund BC blueberry industry

The Canadian government is ponying up $185,000 in funding to the B.C. Blueberry Council for three projects that will help ensure a profitable future for British Columbia’s blueberry growers.

“Canadian blueberries are enjoyed around the world thanks to the hard work and expertise of our growers,” said local MP Nina Grewal. “The Government of Canada is committed to the long-term viability of the blueberry industry and is working with farmers to find innovative and sustainable initiatives.”

The funding will support two research projects that will help growers prevent the introduction and spread of blueberry diseases that damage plants and reduce productivity. They will also help develop an industry-wide approach to managing these diseases.

Funding is also being provided for the development of the B.C. Blueberry Industry Strategic Plan to set priorities and direction for B.C.’s blueberry sector.

According to Will Van Baalen, Executive Director of the B.C. Blueberry Council, today’s announcement is both timely and appreciated. “Without this support, many of our research projects and other initiatives would go undone,” says Van Baalen. “These funds will contribute to the provision of valuable information that will help keep the blueberry industry profitable and viable now and into the future.”

The province is the second largest producer of cultivated blueberries in North America, with an estimated production of more than 33 million kilograms in 2007.

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