A “centre for excellence” is in the works at the University of the Fraser Valley, in the form of a Pacific Berry Resource Centre partnership.
On Nov. 3, representatives of UFV’s agriculture and technology department signed a memorandum of understanding with a number of partners in the berry industry to move forward with the Pacific Berry Resource Centre.
The goal of the centre is to move the berry industry to the leading edge of research and education. UFV is collaborating with the British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC), Raspberry Industry Development Council (RIDC) and the Fraser Valley Strawberry Growers Association (FVSGA) to launch the centre.
Together, the groups will utilize technical expertise, share existing assets, collaborate on projects, and utilize funding within UFV’s upgraded educational facilities.
The centre partnership has received $30,000 from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, and approximately $80,000 in “innovations funding “ from the federal Growing Forward program.
The Pacific Berry Resource Centre will aim to develop the most environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable industry in North America.
Joining forces and creating a network will help researchers at UFV tackle problems associated with topics such as variety development, plant husbandry, post-harvest management, and marketing.
Major co-operators will be the growers, the processing industry, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, private consultants, the Pacific Northwest berry groups, and the Sustainable Horticulture Institute in Langley.
The centre will be based in both Chilliwack and Abbotsford.
When the new UFV Chilliwack campus at the Canada Education Park opens in May 2012, it will house a growing centre consisting of an agriculture building, labs, greenhouses, offices and field facilities for growing and testing.
In Abbotsford, planning of a field facility will begin in 2012, with the hopes of having it in place by 2013.
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