Programs delivered by Adaptation Council expand markets for greenhouse vegetable industry
The last two decades have been a time of significant change for Ontario’s greenhouse vegetable industry. The sector has grown, increasing production and expanding markets for the cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers its producers grow under glass.
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) has been able to successfully access project funding to support many of its market development activities during that time. Those projects were part of various funding programs delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC), which marked its 25th anniversary in December 2020.
An early project, for example, was an in-store sampling partnership with Chicken Farmers of Ontario for greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes as part of the Small Projects Initiative (SPI) in 1999 and 2000. The project launched most recently, part of the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative, is looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting consumer buying habits for greenhouse vegetables in the United States.
According to OGVG General Manager Joe Sbrocchi, the sector has expanded at an average rate of 6.2 to 6.5% annually in recent years, fueling the need for focused market development activities outside of Canada.
“The reality is that the Canadian marketplace relative to our three main commodities is fairly saturated, so to feed our growth, we need to expand into other markets,” he says, adding that greenhouse production is expanding in the United States and Mexico as well.