Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 23, 2010 16:37 ET

Government of Canada Investments in Research Will Benefit Strawberry Growers

SAINT-LAURENT, ÎLE D'ORLÉANS, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 23, 2010) - Canadian strawberry growers will benefit from research and innovation that will improve competitiveness for the sector and boost profits for farmers. The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), announced today that Les Fraises de l'Île d'Orléans will receive $276,875 to assess new varieties of strawberries and raspberries and develop effective breeding processes.

"Our Government is keeping farmers on the cutting edge with investments in science and innovation," said Minister Blackburn. "New berry varieties and improved crops are important to helping our farmers grow their businesses and remain competitive in the marketplace."

In the past, new berry varieties have allowed growers to extend the production season, helping them to be more competitive in the marketplace. In order to offer high-quality products, Canadian growers are looking into new technologies for berry production. 

The funding will help create and evaluate new berry varieties with improved hardiness and disease resistance. Research will also focus on developing better breeding and indoor growing methods that will be beneficial to growers across Canada.

"In our global economy, where major companies from California, Florida and Mexico are able to sell their strawberries and raspberries on Canadian markets year-round at very competitive prices, we must constantly outperform the competition to remain viable," said André Gosselin, professor at the Université Laval and founder of Les Fraises de l'Île d'Orléans. "The Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative will enable three private partners, Les Fraises de l'Île d'Orléans inc, Pépinière Luc Lareault inc and Phytoclone inc, to pursue a major research program aimed at increasing the performance and improving the quality of strawberries and raspberries that can be produced right here in Canada from early June to November." 

Berry consumption in Canada has increased in the last few years. In 2008, cash receipts for strawberries reached $61 million and raspberries were valued at $35 million across Canada.

This project is being funded by the Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative, which supports industry-led science and technology projects. The initiative is part of the larger Agri-Innovations program, a $158 million five-year program announced last May to promote industry-led innovation initiatives that help get new agricultural products into the marketplace and improve agricultural processes.

In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan supports agriculture as a core economic driver in this country. The Government of Canada is focused on strengthening the economy, while preparing to pay down the deficit and to create and protect the jobs of the future. Investments in viable market opportunities will help build an even stronger berry industry and Canadian economy.

For more information on the Developing Innovative Agri-Products program please visit www.agr.gc.ca (under Growing Forward, Science)

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Sophie Doucet
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable Jean Pierre Blackburn
    613-992-3465
    613-608-3252