Both the federal and provincial governments are stepping up to help Ontario’s berry farmers to increase sustainability, implement new technologies and increase awareness of their products.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs recently announced more than $134,000 in cost-share funding towards three projects to help the Berry Growers of Ontario to access markets, monitor soil health and expand their knowledge of crop production.
“The Government is committed to ensuring Ontario berry producers have the tools they need to innovate and be competitive. Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership we are supporting initiatives to help berry growers enhance their sustainability practices and continue to meet growing consumer demand for their high quality products,” said Minister Bibeau.
Funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the governments are investing in the following projects:
- $111,619 to create a website, promotional videos and marketing materials to promote the Ontario berry industry and increase awareness of their products.
- $20,800 to test drone technology to measure acreage of berry crops and gather plant health information.
- $2,000 to develop, promote and host a strawberry production workshop for growers in Ontario to help build their knowledge.
To date, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 2,000 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
“The Berry Growers of Ontario are glad to hear that the Governments of Canada and Ontario have offered to support our industry through the Partnership. The funding will be welcome in support of our website and marketing, as well as our spring production workshop and our innovative research into drone technology,” said Morris Gervais, vice chair, Berry Growers of Ontario.
According to Statistics Canada, there are over 600 berry growers in Ontario. In 2018, total provincial blueberry, raspberry and strawberry acreage was over 3,100 acres, accounting for over $40 million in farm gate sales.