Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm, along with BCFGA president Jeet Dukhia, tours one of the farms hit by the severe hail storm on August 12 in Kelowna.
A 15-minute long hail storm devastated a number of growers in the Kelowna area on August 12. The hail was very large –nearly the size of marbles– and not only bruised and ruined the fruit, but shredded foliage and even damaged tree trunks.
Approximately 35 farms suffered severe damage in the event over an area covering 700 acres. Estimates from the BC Fruit Growers Association are that these severely affected farms will lose their entire crop. This one storm has wiped out approximately 15% of the apple harvest and about 1% of the grape harvest.
Beyond the lost crops farmers are worried because crop insurance will not cover the cost of repairing and protecting the damaged trees.
Two weeks after the storm, B.C. Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm toured some of the farms. The minister wouldn’t promise to help the farmers until the extent of the damage was studied by staff from the Agriculture Ministry.
As of early September the ministry had not yet announced any determination, but BCFGA president Jeet Dukhia says a smaller hail storm struck in the Oliver area and damage from that storm will also need to be assessed.