British Columbia’s solid reputation for food quality and safety and direct access by land, sea or air to sizeable markets in the United States, Asia, Europe and beyond, should make it an exporter’s dream.
“Capturing market share internationally can be daunting, not to mention expensive,” says Peter Donkers, IAF executive director. “That’s where the BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program can help.”
Since IAF began delivering the Growing Forward 2 program in 2013, more than $2 million in matched funding has been invested in 226 projects.
The Okanagan Valley’s Jealous Fruits leveraged export funding to promote cherries in the US, Europe and several Asian countries.
They attended fruit shows, held in-store promotions, brought select customers to see their farms and travelled to meet buyers face to face. They also created a new exhibit and marketing materials.
President, David Geen, notes that sales are up over 50 per cent from last year, primarily south of the border. The company exports 85 per cent of its fresh cherry harvest.
“We could sell everything we produce, but now we don’t have to drop our prices to do so,” says Geen. “Export funding helped us develop multiple sales opportunities and get higher prices.”
More export options and higher prices play nicely into their plans to double production in the coming years.
BC seafood exporters are also benefitting from export funding. In June 2015, the BC Salmon Farmers Association partnered with the BC Shellfish Growers Association and Comox Valley Economic Development to bring international media to the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival and Expo.
Media from the US, Korea, China and South America were hosted on special tours to salmon farms and shellfish operations, where they could meet and talk directly with producers. The value of the resulting TV, print and online coverage in international media outlets was estimated at $317,000, with circulation totalling 40 million.
“We expect international media coverage to keep growing from these new relationships,” says Jeremy Dunn, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Demand for our seafood is already high. This increased exposure should drive it further in these key export markets.”
For more information about the program, visit: www.iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/export
FUNDING: $33,450to the BC Salmon Farmers Association and up to $70,700 to Jealous Fruits (three projects) through the BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. (EX090, EX095, EX157 AND EX178)