As China became one of the fastest-growing markets for Canadian agri-foods, Ottawa plans to increase such exports to the Asian country. Under a new program unveiled Friday, the Canadian government will invest up to 4.3 million Canadian dollars (4.08 million U.S. dollars) annually over the next five years to fund increasing agri-food exports to China and other Asian markets. China, a "critical market" for Canada, saw its agri-food imports from the western Canadian province of British Columbia grow at 20 percent annually, said Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Canada's minister of national revenue. She said with a latest trial agreement between the two nations, fresh cherries from British Columbia have obtained new market access to China. Canada also hopes to secure an agreement with China on similar market access for fresh blueberries exports next year, Findlay said. It is vital to open up new markets such as China, said Debbie Etsell, executive director of the British Columbia Blueberry Council. "We know the demand's there," Etsell told Xinhua. British Columbia produces the most blueberries in the world with nearly 55 million kg picked in 2012. It exports fresh blueberries to China's Hong Kong and frozen berries to China's mainland.