Projects introducing new technology to the province’s tree fruit industry are receiving support from the governments of Canada and British Columbia, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, the Honourable Ron Cannan, on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced last week.
“B.C. has a strong reputation around the world for producing top- quality tree fruits, such as apples and cherries,” said Cannan. “These projects and leading-edge technologies will increase profitability and ensure that the region’s producers remain industry leaders on the domestic and international stage.”
“The B.C. government has been working with industry to focus on innovation and technology as we look at ways to expand their product line and markets,” said Letnick. “The investment of more than $200,000 for these six projects will enhance both our province’s tree fruit operations and ensure the agrifoods industry continues to be an integral part of British Columbia’s economy.”
Cawston Cold Storage is receiving the lion’s share of grant funding, receiving more than $106,000 to assist with new storage technology. The investment will enable greater efficiencies in the movement of product in and out of cold storage. The goal of the facility is to extend the B.C. organic apple marketing season by maximizing the post-harvest product storage quality.
“With this funding we are able to secure much needed long-term storage for our products, and this innovative facility will help the B.C. organic agriculture industry remain strong for future generations,” said Dan Taylor, operations manager, Cawston Cold Storage.
Cawston Cold Storage is introducing refrigeration technology that is new to B.C., utilzing a system that does not use ammonia for heat exchange, but at the same time using geothermal sources to provide part of the energy needed for heat exchange.
CCS’ controlled atmosphere rooms have such highly efficient insulation that there is no need to add nitrogen once the apples are “asleep”.
“There is nothing else like it in Canada,” said Taylor, “the system allows us a lot of flexibility when we pack the fruit.”
Cawston Cold Storage serves 36 growers who farm 700 acres of organic tree fruits each year.
The remainder of the $200,000 funding went to the following projects:
– Coral Beach Farms in Lake Country received $35,000
– The Jind Fruit Company received $26,000
– The Okanagan – Kootenay Cherry Growers Association received $21,000
– BC Fruit Growers Association Research and Development test orchard received $19,200.