Fruit and vegetable growers applaud Ontario budget announcement

News releases – originally printed in Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, March 31, 2011

Guelph, March 31 2011 – Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers are applauding the announcement of a new self-directed risk management program for the edible horticulture sector in this week’s provincial budget. Farmers have been lobbying for bankable, predictable and stable risk management programming for the last several years as the fruit and vegetable sector has been suffering through a prolonged economic downturn.

“We are extremely pleased that the Ontario government has come through for our growers and recognized the need in horticulture for stable a bankable and predictable risk management program,” says Mark Wales, Chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) safety nets committee. “Growers continue to struggle with low prices and rapidly escalating costs and this program will be a game changer for us.”

OFVGA worked collaboratively with fellow members of the Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition (OASC) on securing a long term, permanent risk management solution for farmers. The OFVGA safety nets committee had developed a self-directed risk management-style program proposal for edible horticulture, which is based on financial contributions by both growers and government. To date, the federal government has not committed to supporting the newly announced risk management initiatives.

“We appreciate the willingness of Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell to work with our OASC partners and with OFVGA to develop solutions that will work for each sector,” says Wales. “Now it’s time for the federal government to also come to the table to support these programs so they’ll provide optimum results for farmers.”

The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is the voice of Ontario’s 7,500 fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse producers on issues affecting edible horticulture. Ontario’s fruit and vegetable growers provide more than 30,000 on-farm jobs and support another 8,700 jobs in the provincial food processing sector.

For more information:
Mark Wales, Safety Nets committee chair, 519-773-6706
Art Smith, CEO, 519-763-6160 ext. 115 or 519-831-8770