Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

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New risk management tools developed with AgriRisk funding


November 3, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Monday marked the beginning of the ninth Fall Harvest, and the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry’s first virtual iteration of the annual event. Organized by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC), the event runs Nov. 2-5 and includes panels and speakers on a variety of issues important to produce farmers.

The first day of the event included a keynote speech from Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food. In addition to reiterating the support the Government of Canada has provided during the pandemic, such as the new $35 million Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to support farm workers’ health and safety, Bibeau introduced three new projects.

“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,” Bibeau said in a statement. “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. ”

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Under the AgriRisk Initiatives program, these three projects will benefit the fruit and vegetable sector for a total of $387,000.

The CHC will receive $123,269 to research and conduct a risk assessment of the Ontario horticulture sector. Its purpose is 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.

” Across Canada, our fruit and vegetable farms are very diverse – producing over 120 different crops,” said Rebecca Lee, CHC executive director. “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.”

Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG) will receive $225,000 to develop a risk management financial product for disease and insect infestations for greenhouses. This  will be done on the basis of data modelling, frequency events and by consulting insurers.

Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of OGVG , said, “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.”

The third project sees $38,660 go to Association des producteurs maraichers du Québec* (APMQ) to develop a tool for growers to assess their vulnerability and take the necessary actions to increase their resilience to climate change. The project, which is already complete, involved computerizing the diagnostic tool to enhance climate risk management.

“[It] allows produce businesses to assess their vulnerability and take the necessary actions to increase their resilience to climate change,” says Jocelyn St-Denis, executive director of  the AMPQ. “The extreme temperatures and drought of this past growing season have demonstrated the relevance of implementing adaptations specific to the reality of each business.”

The AgriRisk Initiatives is a five-year program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) that supports the development of new risk management tools. The program is divided into three components, including the Research and Development stream, into which these three projects fall.

*An association which advocates for Quebec-grown produce and producers.