The BC Fruit Growers Assoc. annual meeting is on in Penticton.
One of the key topics being discussed is the new ‘bare ground rejuvenation program’ worth millions of dollars officials have been working on the past year.
President Fred Steele says it encourages growers to plant orchard land left vacant over 5 years or to plant grounds never touched before.
“If you look in the Coldstream area on the hillside by the Coldstream Ranch this is a prime example close to home where they have been planting numerous amounts of cherry acreage the last year or so.”
Steele says they hope new growers will be enticed into the industry through it.
“We’re proposing that growers would have five years of no payments, no interest and at the end of the five years, when they start to pay it back in the sixth year, they would drop the first five years of interest.”
Steele says the Federal Government is actually monitoring things very closely so he hopes funding is made available soon.
“We’ve been working back and forth and working with a national program. This includes Nova Scotia, it includes Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.”
Steele says the Canadian Horticulture Council will end up directing the program when it comes on stream.