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

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Kimberley Food Recovery Depot continues to operate

The Kimberley Food Recovery Depot continues to do its good work despite… Continue reading

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

Local business provides first responders with 22 bottles of hand-sanitizer amid shortages

By: Jesse Heinrichs A hand-sanitizer shortage has hit some of the people… Continue reading

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

Most Read