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Ontario greenhouse growers get competitiveness fund

Jeff Leal, Ontario's minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs (fourth from left), announced the new Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative at a greenhouse in Bowmanville, Ont. (Photo courtesy OMAFRA)

The Ontario government is putting $19 million into a new initiative to support the competitiveness of the greenhouse sector in the province.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal announced the funding on Thursday at Link Greenhouse near Bowmanville, just east of Oshawa.

The Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative aims to provide funding for the creation of “new technologies to reduce production costs, increase productivity and improve produce quality.”

There are few details of the program available yet. The provincial government has been criticized over the high cost of electricity in Ontario and its effect on greenhouses, which are high energy users. Some greenhouse growers have expanded in other jurisdictions.

“We look forward to working with the provincial government to ensure the Ontario greenhouse vegetable sector remains competitive into the future by strengthening investment in Ontario, creating local jobs and continuing to provide fresh, healthy produce for Ontarians year-round,” said George Gilvesy, chair of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG).

The OGVG also said the funding will help move toward 12-month production of greenhouse crops, allowing Ontario growers to retain and expand their market share.

There are about 3,000 acres of greenhouse in Ontario and the sector grows by about 150 acres per year.

John Greig is a field editor for Glacier FarmMedia based at Ailsa Craig, Ont. Follow him at @jgreig on Twitter.

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