Canadian Exports Continue To Grow
While some Canadian growers export up to 100% of their volume, others supply their entire crop within Canada’s borders. For the most part, the majority likely stays in Canada, says Julian Sarraino of Fresh Taste. “The myriad of fluctuating market conditions will ultimately result in a decision by the grower as to where the product goes,” he comments.
CPMA’s Ron Lemaire says Canada’s greenhouse vegetable production represents a “vital source” for the U.S. and internationally. For 2020, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers estimates that Ontario greenhouses are set to produce 476,000 tons of produce. “On average, 50% or more would make its way to the U.S. and beyond, with the rest being shipped throughout the rest of Canada,” explains Joseph Sbrocchi.
Del Fresco Produce, Kingsville, ON, which markets under the DelFrescoPure brand, supplies Canadian and U.S. retailers with greenhouse-grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, flat beans and strawberries.
“I’d say 70% is for the U.S. and 30% is for the domestic marketplace,” estimates marketing manager, Fiona McLean. “Our location [in Ontario] is unique; we are less than 30 minutes from an international border where our sector services large U.S. retail partners.”
Del Fresco manages over 300 acres of production and owns over 100 acres. “We have contracts with growers in other countries when our production season is limited and offsets the season with imported produce,” explains McLean.
Indeed, Canada’s greenhouse vegetable trade is supported by the continued free trade agreement, or USMCA, between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. “All countries are able to import and export produce unique to their different growing regions and climates that fulfill the others’ needs to provide their citizens with a significant variety of fruits and vegetables year-round,” Lemaire explains.
OGVG was “very pleased” that USMCA was approved formally on March 13, 2020. “It was something that virtually all three countries derived much benefit from,” Sbrocchi says. “Doing no harm to what has become an integrated tri-national supply chain was a key outcome. We are optimistic in what the future will bring with this treaty.”