Province shakes hands with China over blueberry and cherry deal

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THOMPSON–OKANAGAN – Expecting to grow provincial agrifood exports by $100 million throughout the next few years, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick and the provincial delegation have agreed to send B.C. blueberries and cherries to China.

The agreement came out of a trade mission to China earlier this month.  Letnick led the trade agreements and was joined by other representatives from the provincial blueberry, cherry and specialty meat industries.

“The trade mission provided us with an important opportunity to meet directly with Chinese officials and reinforce B.C.'s stellar reputation of producing high quality and trusted foods,” said Letnick in a government press release.

It is estimated B.C. Cherry growers will receive up to $20 million dollars annually in revenue stemming from the trade agreement. Once implemented, blueberry growers can expect more than three times the amount – at $65 million worth of exports per year.

The existing relationship between China and the agrifood sector include trade deals for pork, beef, syrups, sauces, seasoning and dessert fillings. The country is the second-largest market for B.C. agrifood exports.

Last year – the province exported $2.7 billion worth of agrifood items to more than 140 countries, with exports to China gaining $234 million in revenue.

To contact a reporter for this story, email gbrothen@infotelnews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.


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