Mark Sweeney

Mark Sweeney

Berry Industry Specialist at BC Stats

Location:
Box 9410 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Company:
BC Stats
HQ Phone:
(250) 387-0327

General Information

Experience

Industry Specialist; Berries and Nuts  - British Columbia

Education

Ph.D.  - 

Affiliations

Assigned Committee Member, B.C., Canada  - U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Recent News  

Mark Sweeney, Ph.D., Assigned Committee Member, B.C., Canada

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Mark Sweeney, Ph.D.
Assigned Committee Member - British Columbia, Canada

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"We've been growing raspberries for 50 or more years in the Valley," says Mark Sweeney, berry specialist with B.C Ministry of Agriculture.
"And if you look at the development of Abbotsford, which 50 years ago was very rural, raspberries and strawberries were huge parts of the economy." All three industries still thrive, but local farmers have discovered strength in diversification. "Raspberries have probably, acreage wise, been more stable (than other berry crops)," Sweeney says, noting the market is doing as well as it was a decade ago. In 1999, 12 million kilograms of raspberries, 90 per cent of the total grown in British Columbia, came from Abbotsford and directly brought $21.4 million to the economy. Abbotsford's berry crops now include a booming blueberry industry, predominantly situated on the Matsqui Prairie region of north Abbotsford. "The big growth rate is in blueberries, which at one time were pretty minor in the Abbotsford area," says Sweeney. Last year, about 5.5 million kg of blueberries were grown in the Abbotsford area, up from the 4.6 kg grown in 1999 that generated $9.5 million. While raspberries and blueberries are still doing well, strawberries are not the force they once were, Sweeney says, explaining how the market's changed with competition from Mexico and California.

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