Quebec vegetable producers set to grow with investments in innovative technology and processes

From: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced nearly $2.2 million for two Saint-Patrice-de-Sherrington, Quebec companies as they move forward with first-in-the-sector projects, making use of advanced agricultural technology. contributions totalling nearly $2.2 million.

Specifically, an investment of $625,419 will support Les Jardins A. Guérin et Fils, Inc. (JAG) in optimizing growing techniques and performing market testing as they implement a new model for the year-round production of organic, greenhouse-grown radishes, the first operation of its kind in Canada. Domestic availability of locally grown, organic radishes, year-round, will reduce the need for imports by providing a new product offering for the Canadian agri-food sector, and create new export opportunities. JAG’s year-round production will help offset imports of radishes from Mexico and Southern California which were valued at approximately $18.6 million. Once complete, this project is expected to generate $1.3 million in revenue with the production of 460,000 pallets.

Meanwhile, an investment of more than $1.5 million will be made to support onion producer Onipro with the adoption of optical scanning technology that will increase productivity and reduce loss, while also ensuring the highest quality product possible. This will be the first time such technology has been used in Canada’s onion sector, allowing growers to ramp up production to meet growing demand, lower costs, and increase exports. As a result of this project, onions can now be traced back to their points of origin for food safety and security purposes. This project is expected to increase production by 30 per cent within the next five years. It is hoped that this technology will increase onion production in that same time period from 58 million pounds annually to 76.5 million pounds, increasing Onipro’s competitiveness in both domestic and export markets.

These contributions further demonstrate the Government of Canada’s commitment to investing in innovation and growth in the agriculture and agri-food sector, and to helping Canadian farmers and businesses produce sustainable, world-class products.

Quotes

“These agricultural innovations will create many opportunities on the world market and help the regional economic growth of Sherrington. These two projects demonstrate our Government’s commitment to positioning Canada as a leader for the sustainable production of vegetables.”

– The Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“These two local organizations truly demonstrate the ingenuity and resilience of the agriculture industry, both here in Quebec, and across Canada. These first in Canada innovations will provide benefits to all Canadians.”

– Brenda Shannahan, Member of Parliament for Châteauguay-Lacolle

“These two local organizations truly demonstrate the ingenuity and resilience of the agriculture industry, both here in Quebec, and across Canada. These first in Canada innovations will provide benefits to all Canadians.”

– Brenda Shannahan, Member of Parliament for Châteauguay-Lacolle

“This financial contribution from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will accelerate the development of a brand new greenhouse production in Canada. This innovative organic radish production project will add a new local product to the limited range of products available during the winter season, while responding to growing consumer demand for access to fresh, high-quality (physical and taste) and pesticide-free products.”

– Pascal Guérin, Production Manager, Jardins A. Guérin et fils inc.

“The financial participation of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada will allow Groupe Vegco and its Onipro packing division to consolidate its position as the leader in onion packing in Canada. The new technologies acquired through this project will make it possible to more rapidly fulfill customer orders while ensuring optimal quality according to each customer’s specifications. A revolutionary internal and external optical sorting system will reduce food waste by optimizing the sorting of problematic onions.”

– Marc-André Van Winden, Onipro Inc

Quick facts

  • The funding will be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriInnovate program.

  • The AgriInnovate program aims to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase sector competitiveness and sustainability.

  • Onipro, founded in 1963, is the largest fresh onion packer in Quebec. It was incorporated as a co-operative in 1990, and is owned by 12 field-grown onion producers. It is supported and co-owned by Groupe Vegco, Inc.

  • Founded in 1983, JAG is a family owned producer of radishes, onions, and carrots. The company’s primary facility is located in Sherrington, Quebec.

  • JAG’s radishes currently comprise 29% of Canadian radish production and 47% of Quebec production.

  • JAG acquired organic certification for its radishes in November 2018.

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