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B.C. NDP promises $24-million to grow local agriculture industry

British Columbia NDP Leader Adrian Dix tosses an apple in the air during a campaign stop at Sidhu Orchards in Lake Country, B.C., on Sunday April 21, 2013.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

NDP Leader Adrian Dix stood in an apple orchard in the Okanagan riding of Liberal Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick today to announce a $24-million plan for the province's agriculture industry.

Orchardists from the Okanagan handed out slices of locally grown Ambrosia apples to the gathering.

Dix says the three-year program will add $8-million annually to British Columbia's agriculture budget to help grow, feed and buy B.C. products.

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Dix says Feed BC involves increasing the amount of locally grown foods served at B.C. hospitals, while Grow BC helps orchardists replant their orchards.

He says Buy BC expands a B.C. fruit and food marketing program eliminated by the Liberals in 2001.

B.C. Fruit Growers' Association President Jeet Dukhia says Dix's plans are a step forward for orchardists, especially the support for replanting and renewing orchards.

Dix also says he will cut provincial liquor branch mark-ups on B.C. craft distilled drink products to lower their prices in an effort to attract more customers.

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