B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative’s apple exports to Asia have declined due to the coronavirus outbreak. (File photo)

Okanagan apple exports to Asia seeing big dip as COVID-19 spreads

B.C. Tree Fruits said that getting fruit into China has become more difficult

The fruit industry is the latest victim to feel the impact of the coronavirus as the industry struggles to export its products to Asia, the epicentre of the virus.

According to Warren Sarafinchan, B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative CEO, the industry has been sending fewer exports to Asia since the virus started to spread in January.

“Getting any fruit into China right now has been quite challenging, particularly since we do so much business in the country,” said Sarafinchan.

“Right now, we’re watching how the coronavirus situation is unfolding in certain countries so we can take whatever appropriate action we need to take.”

He said the apple industry has been particularly hard hit.

“Currently, our apple exports don’t have any access to the Chinese market,” said Sarafinchan, adding the company is still exporting some of its apples to other Asian markets.

Given that the virus appears to be continuing to spread, Sarafinchan is concerned about the impact on cherry farmers, which export their products to international markets in June and July. He said he’s also particularly worried about the impact the virus is having on ports, which play a critical role in the fruit supply chain.

“Ports are one area where our products have slowed down or even stopped,” said Sarafinchan. “Since the global supply chain has slowed down by the novel coronavirus, we need to start thinking about how we’ll resume business when things get back up to speed.”

Despite the slowdown, Sarafinchan said none of his employees have been laid off and so far the financial impact has been minimal.

READ MORE: Canada’s largest airlines waiving fees to change flights because of coronavirus

READ MORE: Families voice outrage after school district discusses eliminating bus route to Kelowna school

Worldwide, more than 3,100 people have died and more than 92,000 have become sick from the novel coronavirus.

As of March 5, 33 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Canada, including 21 in B.C. There have been no confirmed deaths.

In response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Bank of Canada also recently cut its key interest rate target to 1.25 per cent to stimulate economic growth.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: ER nurse from Qualicum Beach self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

Errington Farmers Market to go ahead with planned May opening

Strict safety measures to be put in place

COVID-19: Qualicum school district to start at home learning initiatives April 15

Last week, teachers reached out to families to discuss individual needs

COVID-19: Latest message from Qualicum Beach

Town officials conducted spot inspection on re-opened farmers market

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Nanaimo company offering free soil for self-isolators to get into gardening

Milner Group inviting the public to pick up soil at its Biggs Road recycling facility on Saturday

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

Most Read