Cherry farmers harvest markets in China

New trade agreements mean more cherries from the Okanagan Valley could be heading to China. - Morning Star file photo
New trade agreements mean more cherries from the Okanagan Valley could be heading to China.
— image credit: Morning Star file photo

Cherry farmers in the Okanagan Valley are gaining expanded access to the largest consumer market in the world.

B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick and federal Agriculture Minister  Gerry Ritz have been touring China as part of a federally led trade mission.

“An agreement was signed between the governments of Canada and China that  will lead to full, unimpeded access for fresh B.C. cherries into China,” said Letnick, who is the Lake Country MLA.

“As a result, B.C. cherry growers stand to generate millions of dollars a year in new revenue.”

Letnick says the provincial government has worked closely with cherry growers, the federal  government and Chinese importers to reach this agreement.

“We look forward to building on this momentum and playing the same role in helping gain access for fresh B.C. blueberries, as well as working to expand the markets for B.C. pork, wine, seafood and other products,” he said.

“I’d also like to congratulate the governments of Canada and China on the  ongoing progress made on this trade mission towards fresh B.C. blueberries  being approved for sale in the Chinese market. B.C. growers could be looking  at up to $65 million worth of exports a year once the agreement is fully  implemented.”

According to Letnick, the agreements being made on the trade mission could result in an  increase in B.C. agrifood exports of about $100 million within a few years.

“The opportunities in China are huge,” he said.

“We’ve set record agrifood exports to  China in each of the last four years, and we want that to grow.”


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