Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Member of Parliament Randy Kamp (Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission) have announced an investment of over $117,000 to the British Columbia Blueberry Council to help high-bush blueberry growers showcase their world-class blueberries abroad and increase export sales.This investment from the Government of Canada's AgriMarketing Program will help to the Council boost its international presence by strengthening relationships with importers of high-bush blueberries through trade missions and participation at major trade shows in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Quick Facts
- The British Columbia Blueberry Council represents over 800 high-bush blueberry producers and is responsible for 96 per cent of Canada's total high-bush blueberry production.
- British Columbia is the number one producer and exporter of high-bush blueberries in Canada and the third-largest in the world. In 2013, Canada exported $163 million worth of fresh and frozen high-bush blueberries to 20 different countries and British Columbia accounted for 92 per cent of Canada's total high-bush blueberry exports.
- The recent Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two parties. Upon entry into force, CETA will eliminate tariffs on fresh, frozen and processed blueberries and other berries.
- During the Minister's recent trade mission, China agreed to expedite work that will allow for the sale of fresh Canadian blueberries into China. Once fully implemented, the Canadian blueberry industry estimates this new access to be valued at up to $65 million annually.
- This investment is made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.
"Our government continues to support what matters most to Canadians-job creation, prosperity and the economy. This project will help blueberry producers stay ahead of the competition by forging strong relationships with buyers from around the world and increasing demand for our top-quality blueberries." said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz"The BC high-bush blueberry industry appreciates the government assistance in opening up new export markets. It will continue to allow our sector to be a major contributor to agriculture's stake in the Canadian economy." said Debbie Etsell, Executive Director, British Columbia Blueberry Council