A trade agreement between Canada and China has opened the doors for B.C. cherry growers to export higher volumes of their product.
B.C. growers have been waiting for this agreement for over six years. Vice president of the B.C. Cherry Association, David Geen said the news is a big deal because China is the number one cherry market in the world.
“You get higher returns in China than any other market, it is not a price sensitive market. Because you have customers that are willing to pay for a premium product,” said Green.
“Also, in the Chinese culture they set a premium in buying fresh fruit. And a number of fruits are particularly prized and cherries are in that category."
The Canadian government projects that the new agreement will lead to full and unimpeded access to the Chinese market.
Previous to this agreement, B.C. shipped 450 tonnes of cherries to China in 2013. Geen said with the new agreement, they expect to export 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes a year.
B.C. Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said they expect millions of dollars year in new revenue from the exports of cherries to China.
Neil Dendy the manager of Dendy Orchards in East Kelowna said they are looking forward to a more fruitful and stable future for the family business, that has been running for over a hundred years.
“For our business it means long term security, that we will have access to the Chinese market...There is a lot of customers there and unlimited demand for high quality fruit.”
The prices for cherries aren’t expected to go up for British Columbians.
“There are a lot of new planting of cherries in the ground. I think even for the grower to be able to maintain current pricing levels we need additional markets that are going to draw more fruit. I think the two, increase in production and increase in market will tend to balance each other out.“ said Geen.