January 24, 2014 By Press release
January 24, 2014, Simcoe, Ont – The Canadian government is investing up to $512,700 into research to help grow local asparagus markets.
It’s hoped the project, funded under Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovation Program, will improve the amount of asparagus, its quality, and help in making the crops more resistant to disease.
According to Bernie Solymar, executive director of the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario, the organization plans to match the government funding, resulting in more than $1.2 million for research.
With increased demand for “local” Ontario asparagus in recent years and proximity to large markets in the eastern U.S., new seed varieties will help to meet the needs of the expanding industry, lower production costs and boost competitiveness in the region.
This non-repayable contribution will help Asparagus Farmers of Ontario develop new hybrids that can be grown in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Saskatchewan. It’s hoped the project will provide growers with reasonably priced seeds in a timely manner and improve the Canadian asparagus sector’s profitability and competitiveness.
“The Asparagus Farmers of Ontario has a long-standing and productive partnership with the University of Guelph,” said Solymar. “We have supported Dr. Dave Wolyn’s asparagus breeding program for almost two decades and the industry has benefitted greatly from the release of Millennium, a superior cold-weather variety. The funding announced through AAFC’s AgriInnovation Fund allows the breeding program to continue to support a competitive Ontario asparagus industry into the future.”
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