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BC Tree Fruits provides strategic updates

The Board of Directors and management of BC Tree Fruits Cooperative announced strategic steps to ensure the future viability and success of the Cooperative. Significant investments will be made in the Oliver facility which will include state-of-the-art technology. The decision has also been made to close the packing house operations in the Kelowna/Lake Country area in the fall of 2022. The Cooperative will continue to serve growers across the Okanagan, Similkameen and Creston areas through the expanded Oliver packing facility along with satellite receiving and storage sites throughout the valleys.

“The Okanagan tree fruit industry has been faced with many challenges over the last number of years,” says Andre Scheepers, chair of the Board of Directors for the Cooperative. “While the cost of farm inputs continues to climb, weather events over the last three seasons have put significant pressure on all growers. As a result, the industry has seen losses of fruit volume across all commodities. After many months of investigation and deliberation, the Board of Directors and management have decided that this is the best facility investment plan for the Cooperative to continue building a sustainable future for our growers.”

New facility too risky
“Until recently, management and the Board collectively believed that a new build in Kelowna was the best course of action. However, the sharp rise in construction costs and interest rates along with changes in the industry made the plan for a new build far too risky,” says Warren Sarafinchan, president and CEO. “As a grower-owned Cooperative, we place growers first in everything we do. The Board of Directors and management are confident that the expansion of our Oliver packing facility will give us the capacity and efficiencies needed to service our customers while delivering solid income back to our growers. We are taking the fiscally responsible path to modernization, which allows us to re-invest funds toward our growers and diversification at the same time.” The existing Kelowna facility with 95 employees will close this fall. 

When asked about the fate of the land originally slated for the new build in Kelowna, Sarafinchan said: “We are currently visioning many options for that location that will diversify our business while benefiting our grower base. BC Tree Fruits Cooperative will continue to have roots in Kelowna well into the future.”

For more information:
Laurel Van Dam
BC Tree Fruits Cooperative
Tel: +1 (250) 808-0928 

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