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

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Castlegar doctor’s offices remain open for phone, video and in-person appointments

Doctors concerned people may be neglecting health concerns for fear of catching the COVID-19

BRAND NAMES: Cominco, West Kootenay Power, Granby

Consolidated Mining and Smelting (CM&S) became Cominco, then Teck-Cominco, then Teck

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Over 440 complaints issued in 3 months about Central Kootenay governments: B.C. Ombudsperson

Most common complaints were about decisions and bylaw enforcement in local governments

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read