Minister Bibeau highlights government support and announces new financial tools to help fruit and vegetable growers
November 2, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau delivered a keynote speech today at the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry's first-ever virtual Fall Harvest event, where she spoke of the importance, strength and resiliency of Canada's fruit and vegetable producers and processors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Bibeau highlighted the Government of Canada's efforts to support produce farmers and processors who are facing significant challenges during the pandemic, including the new $35 million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to support farm workers' health and safety and the $50 million Surplus Food Rescue Program to ensure surplus goods reach vulnerable populations while providing a fair return to producers. The Government has taken many steps to facilitate the arrival of temporary foreign workers into Canada, that has resulted in about 85% of workers to Canadian farms compared to the same time last year. The Government has also recently extended to November 30, 2020 the $50 million Mandatory Isolation Support for Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which helps growers cover the costs of observing the mandatory quarantine periods for those workers.
At the event, Minister Bibeau also announced three new projects to benefit the sector totaling $387,000 under the AgriRisk Initiatives program. These projects will examine better financial tools and insurance products to provide growers with greater stability and sustainability. They included:
- Canadian Horticultural Council - $123,269 to research and conduct a risk assessment of the Ontario horticulture sector to support the future development of a whole-farm producer-paid top-up insurance product for horticulture producers through the creation of a Diversity Index..
- Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) - $225,000 to develop a risk management financial product for disease and insect infestations for greenhouses, which will be done on the basis of data modeling, frequency events and by consulting insurers.
- Association des producteurs maraichers du Québec (APMQ) - $38,660 to develop a tool for growers to assess their vulnerability and take the necessary actions to increase their resilience to climate change.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada's horticultural producers and processors have stood strong and resilient as they continued to drive our economy and our food security in the face of significant challenges. Our Government will continue to support them and give them the tools they need to manage risk and capture the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for their industry. "
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"On behalf of Canada's fruit and vegetable growers, the Canadian Horticultural Council would like to extend its sincere thanks to Minister Bibeau for participating in Fall Harvest, and to her and the staff at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the support they have shown to our industry through the funding of this AgriRisk project. Across Canada, our fruit and vegetable farms are very diverse – producing over 120 different crops. We are encouraged by the government's recognition of our diversity and look forward to our partnership in developing risk management tools that reflect this."
- Rebecca Lee, Executive Director, Canadian Horticultural Council
"The creation of the Surplus Food Rescue Program by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provided a life-line to food insecure Canadians and producers, ranchers, and fishers who, as a result of the pandemic, suddenly found themselves with fresh food that they could not get to market. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association applauds the leadership and quick response of AAFC and is proud to be a partner in delivering this program to ensure Canadians have fresh, nutritious Canadian food on their tables and the agri-food industry can contribute to food security in Canada while maintaining the ongoing viability of their businesses."
- Ron Lemaire, President, Canadian Produce Marketing Association
"Ontario's Greenhouse Vegetable Growers' are grateful to Minister Bibeau and her team for providing us the opportunity to partner with the government in designing and implementing a greenhouse vegetable production insurance option. This project will help our farmers rebound from unforeseeable perils, such as pest and disease outbreaks, by managing crop risks so that we can continue providing fresh vegetables to Canadians and around the world."
- Joe Sbrocchi, General Manager, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
"The Quebec Produce Growers Association (QPGA) is very pleased to have received the support of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2019 for its project to computerize the diagnostic tool to enhance climate risk management. The project, which is now complete, allows produce businesses to assess their vulnerability and take the necessary actions to increase their resilience to climate change. The extreme temperatures and drought of this past growing season have demonstrated the relevance of implementing adaptations specific to the reality of each business."
- Jocelyn St-Denis, Executive Director, Quebec Produce Growers Association
The fresh produce industry continues to be a strong and vibrant driver of the Canadian economy, even in the face of significant labour, market and financial challenges, generating farm cash receipts worth more than $5.9 billion and $4.7 billion in exports in 2019.
The fruit and vegetable sector supported 64,800 employees in 2018. This marks the ninth year the event has been held, and first-ever virtual edition of Fall Harvest, organized by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC). It is the leading advocacy event for the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry, and is taking place November 2-5, 2020.
The AgriRisk Initiatives is a five-year program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership that supports the development of new risk management tools. The program is divided into three components, including the Research and Development stream which today's announcements fall under.
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, CPMA is a not-for-profit organization that represents a diverse membership made up of every segment of the produce industry supply chain who are responsible for 90% of the fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada.
The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) is an Ottawa-based voluntary, not-for-profit, national association that represents fruit and vegetable growers across Canada involved in the production of over 120 different types of crops on over 14,237 farms.
Through the Surplus Food Rescue Program, the CPMA is providing over a million kilos of vegetables for Canadians in need, while helping farmers to reduce surpluses and stabilize markets.
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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