Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
New report highlights Ontario fruit growers


April 5, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

March 31, 2010,
Vineland, Ont. – The leaders of various Ontario fruit grower groups welcomed
the recent release of a new report on the industry.

March 31, 2010,
Vineland, Ont. – The leaders of various Ontario fruit grower groups welcomed
the recent release of a new report on the industry.

“This report
signals a fresh vision for Ontario’s fruit farmers and calls on all members of
the value chain to work together in taking advantage of increasing consumer
consumption of fruit,” said Len Troup, chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit
Producers’ Marketing Board
.

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The report –
Fifteen Year Comprehensive Strategic Plan for the Ontario Apple, Tender Fruit
and Fresh Grape Industry – was coordinated by Vineland Research and Innovation
Centre (VRIC)
and commissioned by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and
Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) under the
strategic planning component of the Canada-Ontario Orchards and Vineyards
Transition Program
.

“The report is
clear, innovation and partnerships are key to supplying growing market demand
with Ontario fruit,” said Troup. “We understand that consumers are increasing
their demand for high quality product and leading edge varieties. To meet this
demand and address import competition, we must improve relationships with
packers, distributors and retailers.”

Although Ontario
fruit sectors have been producing quality peaches, nectarines, pears, apples
and table grapes for decades, reaching the consumer with consistently high
quality product and novel varieties has been a mounting challenge for the
industry.

“Nobody will argue
the value of an apple a day,” said Brian Gilroy, chair of the Ontario Apple
Growers
. “As growers, we need to guarantee it is an Ontario apple at the finger
tips of every Ontario consumer. Quality systems, retail access, and new
varieties, which although take time to develop, are fundamental to this
effort.”

“Working with our
grower partners, we will engage in consultations with Ontario value chain
members to refine report priorities and finalize an action plan over the coming
months,” said Larry Hipple, chair of the Ontario Fresh Grape Growers. “We
cannot delay, as a new growing season is already on us.”

The report
identifies a number of strengths that have already primed the sector for
success: close proximity to large and affluent markets, consistent production
capability, Ontario buy local movements and support from research and
innovation leaders.

“We know there are
real and substantiated growth opportunities for Ontario horticulture,” said
Donald Ziraldo, chair of VRIC. “At Vineland Research and Innovation Centre we
are pleased to be a part of the process and the solutions.”

Vineland Research
and Innovation Centre
appreciated the opportunity to coordinate this report on
behalf of OMAFRA, AAFC and industry stakeholders,” added Dr. Jim Brandle, CEO
of VRIC. “Vineland’s researchers and innovators will play a leading role in
variety development, production system improvements and new technology
opportunities that will drive a more competitive and consumer-focused sector.”

Consultations with
horticulture value chain members from growers through to retailers will
formally commence with public release of the report.