The Government of Canada recently committed new funds for tender fruit research that will be aimed at extending the growing season, storability and the development of new varieties.
Vance Badawey, member of parliament for Niagara Centre, and Chris Bittle, member of parliament for St. Catharines, on behalf of the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced an investment of up to $476,908 for the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers and Fresh Grape Growers to improve fruit quality and availability of tender fruit and fresh grape varieties for consumers.
“Scientific innovation is key to the Ontario tender fruit and fresh grape sector increasing the sustainability, competitiveness and profitability of their industry sector. The Government of Canada is pleased to announce this federal investment, as it means increased opportunities for producers, packers, processors and retailers,” said Minister Bibeau.
The research project aims to improve Canadian tender fruits such as apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears, for example by extending the growing season and storability. The project will also study black knot disease in plums and develop new tender fruit and fresh grape varieties. The technical results of the research will be shared with the Canadian tree fruit and fresh grape sectors.
“This collaboration is a long-term commitment from growers, researchers at University of Guelph and Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to bring new varieties of locally grown fruit to consumers across Canada. These partnerships have resulted in new growth opportunities that not only provide benefit for family farms, but also all of our partners, including marketers, retailers and nurseries. We extend our appreciation to Agriculture and Agri -Food Canada for this funding,” said Phil Tregunno, chair, Ontario Tender Fruit Growers.
This initiative is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program, which aims to accelerate the pace of innovation by providing funding and support for pre-commercial science activities and cutting-edge research that benefits the agriculture and agri-food sector and Canadians.
In 2018, the farm-gate value for tender fruit and table grapes in Ontario totalled more than $66 million and over $4 million respectively, for a combined total of more than $71 million; over 91 per cent of this fruit is sold through fresh-market sales.