Politicians visit Langley with berry good news

The B.C. berry industry is getting $2.8 million from the federal government to do things like grow better berries and fight pests.

Pierre Lemieux, an Ontario MP and parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of agriculture, came bearing the fruits of the labours of B.C. berry organizations.

He and Langley MP Mark Warawa made an announcement Thursday about another round of funding for the berry sector. Driediger Berry Farm was the setting for the announcement.

The AgriInnovation program is a five-year $698 million initiative for industry-led research and development.

“Local berry farmers are an important part of the economy here in Langley. I am pleased that this investment will help the berry industry in the Fraser Valley and across the Lower Mainland continue to grow and prosper,” commented Langley MP Mark Warawa.

The Lower Mainland Horticulture Improvement Association (LMHIA) will oversee the project and funding.

LMHIA chair David Mutz said some this funding will likely go to the University of the Fraser Valley which has a berry centre but not Langley’s post-secondary schools.

Though Kwantlen Polytechnic University has a long-established horticulture school, it’s focus is not on berries but landscaping.

“A lot of research is going to be done on the farm,” Mutz noted.

One goal is to create cultivars that do better in local growing conditions and do better at fighting pests. The program will also research impacts of global climate change on berry  growing.

The B.C. berry industry brought over $200 million to the farm gate in 2012. Berry exports have doubled in the past decade, topping more than $211 million last year.

Under Greening Forward 1, the berry sector was able to get some key information about a new visitor from Asia.

“We had a new invasive pest come in,” Mutz explained.

Spotted wing drosophila  (SWD) hits crops just as the fruit is turning colour, laying its eggs inside and destroying the fruit. In contrast, fruit flies go after fruit when it’s overripe and rotting.

Funds from Greening Forward 1 helped the industry and experts do research on control protocols, timing of the insect’s activities and temperature impacts.

“It’s not in check,” Mutz noted.

And SWD is now North America wide so the Greening Forward 2 funding will help with research that will benefit the agriculture across Canada and beyond and help locals obtain research being done elsewhere.

“B.C. is a top Canadian berry producer, and key investments in innovation like this one, will allow berry farmers to stay ahead of the competition and remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, MP.

Just Posted

National PTSD awareness ride rolling into Langley

The Rolling Barrage 2018 ride will arrive next Tuesday and overnight in Langley.

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Looking Back: August 16, 2018

Langley’s history, as told through the files of the Advance.

Throwback Thursday: August 16, 2018

Can you help us caption a photo from Langley’s past?

Langley’s Tbird preps to welcome Mounties for Musical Ride

The equestrian spectacle is coming to Langley Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

Kim XO is Black Press Media’s fashionista

Starting Sept. 7, stylist Kim XO will host Fashion Fridays on the Life channel on Black Press Meida

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read