Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 01, 2010 16:25 ET

Government of Canada Helping to Build a Competitive and Innovative Future for Canadian Horticulture

AYLESFORD, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 1, 2010) - The Government of Canada is investing in science and innovation to ensure the future of the horticulture industry remains profitable for Canadian growers. An investment of over $5 million will bring together expertise from academia, industry and government to address key challenges in the industry, today announced Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Member of Parliament Greg Kerr (West Nova).

"Investments in science and innovation must make the farm gate stronger, which is why the Harper Government is working to maximize scientific and industry expertise by focusing on key challenges, such as production, storage, shipping and retail sale conditions," said Minister Ritz. "This targeted investment will bring together the best and brightest minds in the business to turn innovative ideas into dollars for the growers' pocket."

This investment will create two science clusters:

  • The Canadian Horticultural Council will receive $3.6 million to create an Edible Horticulture Cluster to help improve production and increase marketable yields. Projects will address sector priorities such as field sanitation for blueberries and enhancing the storability of apples.
  • The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will receive $1.5 million to create an Ornamental Horticulture Cluster to help increase profitability through improved efficiencies and new market opportunities. Research will focus on a number of key areas, including developing best practices for pest and weed control and fertilization, optimal production conditions to reduce energy consumption and improved product development.

"The horticulture industry plays a vital role in our economy here in Nova Scotia and across this great country and a strong partnership between government, industry and academia will pay great dividends for growers in the future," said MP Kerr. "I'm proud to be part of a Government that values farmers and the hard work they do to grow, among other things, nutritious fruits and vegetables for our kitchen tables."

The horticultural sector is vital to Canada's agriculture industry and plays an important role in the economy. In 2009, farm cash receipts for the Canadian horticultural sector (edible and ornamental) totalled almost $6 billion, a five per cent increase from the previous year, and the value of exports of horticultural products reached $3.8 billion.

"The support for the horticulture science clusters is indeed welcome and very much appreciated," said Andy Vermeulen, President of Canadian Horticulture Council. "Research and innovation are the foundation to the continued success of Canada's vibrant and diverse horticulture sector, which is comprised of over 100 fruit and vegetable crops. The results of our cluster initiatives will have a real impact for those who grow, pack and ship these crops."

"Delivering the ornamental horticulture cluster on behalf of the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance is a major step forward for both the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre and the horticulture industry," said Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. "The cluster will bring together top class horticulture scientists at Vineland and from across the country to conduct leading edge research that will deliver environmental and economic benefits for Canadian producers of ornamental plants."

Both clusters are delivered as part of the Growing Forward framework under the Agri-Innovations program, a $158 million, five-year program to support industry-led science and technology projects.

For more information on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs visit www.agr.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary
    613-773-1059