Details announced in orchard, vineyard program
By Marg Land
May 16, 2008, Ottawa, Ont. – The Government of Canada has announced the details of the Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program to help Ontario’s tree fruit and grape industries adapt to industry pressures and meet consumer demands.
The Government of Canada is investing up to $22.3 million, to cover the costs of removing fruit trees or vines in order to plant new, more productive varieties or crops and for the development of strategic commodity plans.
“This program is a significant first step toward renewing the tender fruit industry given the current industry pressures and the important decisions that tender fruit growers have to make,” said Len Troup, chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board.
Many tender fruit and grape growers in Ontario have been affected by the closure of fruit and grape juice processing plants in the province. The varieties of fruit grown for processing are not typically the same as those eaten fresh, meaning growers have to adapt their orchards or vineyards to new markets.
Canada-Ontario Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program
The Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program (OVTP), which runs until March 31, 2011, will assist Ontario tree fruit and grape growers by covering some of the costs associated with removing fruit trees or vines and for the development of strategic commodity plans.
Agricorp will deliver the plant removal portion of the program to tree fruit and grape growers in Ontario. The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) will administer the strategic planning component in consultation with industry associations.
Producers with a minimum of 1.236 acres (0.5 hectare) of orchards or vineyards will be eligible for the OVTP if they commit to keeping the land available to agriculture for five years.
Eligible producers who have removed fruit trees or vines as of October 25, 2007 or later, will receive financial assistance of up to $4,000 per hectare to cover some of the costs of removing plant stock.
The program also includes up to $923,000 for Ontario’s tree fruit and grape industries to plan for the future and take advantage of new opportunities. Vineland, in consultation with industry associations, will develop studies to help the industry and their members improve the long-term profitability of growers.
Implementing changes to an orchard or vineyard is very costly because of the time it takes for trees and vines to mature and provide a good return on investment. The funding being provided to these industries is aimed at helping growers with some of the costs associated with implementing the changes they need to make to remain competitive.
Tree fruit and grape industries in Ontario have also received financial assistance from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for other initiatives. In November 2007, the Government of Canada announced up to $45.6 million in new funding to eradicate Plum Pox Virus, a serious plant disease affecting tender fruit including peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. The additional funding will continue a high level of detection and surveillance of the disease and provide financial assistance to affected producers.
In order to stimulate further growth within the Canadian wine industry, an excise tax exemption was introduced for Canadian wines made from 100 percent Canadian grapes, effective July 1, 2006.
For more information on how to apply to the Orchards and Vineyards Transition Program, visit www.agricorp.com or contact Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999.