Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

February 21, 2013 10:04 ET

Harper Government Helps Horticulturalists Improve Yields

NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2013) - Ontario's fruit, flower and vegetable growers will benefit from new technology and marketing strategies with the support of the Harper Government. Member of Parliament (St. Catharines) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Rick Dykstra, made the announcement on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara Falls today.

"Our government's top priority remains jobs and economic growth, and helping farmers improve their productivity and competitiveness plays an important role in keeping the economy strong," MP Dykstra said. "Our government is committed to helping Ontario's horticulturalists remain competitive in global markets and continue to improve their yields."

Three horticultural organizations are receiving $579,000 under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) to tackle issues that have been identified by growers as obstacles to reaching higher levels of productivity.

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association will be able to grow new species of tomato, pepper, petunia and impatiens that are of economic importance to Ontario using genomics technology, thanks to an investment of $308,000. "Developing new crop varieties to meet evolving consumer demands will help Ontario's fruit and vegetable farmers remain competitive," says Ray Duc, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association. "This crop genetic technology will help position our industry to adapt more quickly to changes in the marketplace and contribute to the long term sustainability of our sector."

The Ontario Apple Growers is receiving an investment of $137,000 for a study to better understand evolving consumer preferences, in order to better market their produce. "With this investment, Ontario Apple Growers will lead a strategy to introduce signature Ontario apples to the marketplace. We see this as an important step to expand provincial acreage, diversify production and improve our reaction time in meeting the demand for delicious, locally-grown varieties," said Brian Gilroy, Chair, Ontario Apple Growers.

An investment of $133,000 investment for Seeds of Diversity Canada will help producers control seed-borne disease on tomato farms through ultra-violet radiation, replacing treatments which have been found to be either too expensive or result in enormous losses of seed. "This investment will help create a new option for seed producers and purchasers to prevent transmission of seed-borne plant diseases, using readily accessible technology that is inexpensive, safe, easy to use, and chemical-free. We are developing a UV disinfection method specifically to address seed-borne diseases of tomato seeds, but we are confident that the technique will apply to many other crop types," said Bob Wildfong, Executive Director, Seeds of Diversity.

These Harper Government investments are provided through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million initiative that helps the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Ontario, the regional component of this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

For more information on Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, please visit

To learn more about the Agricultural Adaptation Council, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

    Nadine Armstrong
    Manager, Communications & Industry Relations
    Agricultural Adaptation Council