Ornamental hort groups backed to draft promotional plan

Three major horticultural producer groups have picked up federal funding to assess the sector’s environmental practices, with an eye toward a nationwide promotional plan.

The Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA), which includes the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, the Federation interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Quebec and Flowers Canada Growers, will get $457,000 from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) for their joint study.

The project, dubbed Canadian Ornamental Horticulture’s Green Solution for Growing the Sector, is expected to lead to development and testing of a promotional plan “inspired by the comments and impressions of consumers and designed to capitalize on their concerns about lifestyle, environmental practices and health.”

The promotional plan is then expected to “contribute to the development of good environmental practices and the establishment of standardized practices as part of a pilot project focused on production costs.”

The results of the project are then to be distributed to horticultural organizations and businesses across the country — and to be used toward planning workshops with horticulturalists, to develop “a model of production costs and good environmental practices, aimed at identifying the variables that have the greatest impact on the industry.”

The CAAP funds “will enable us to develop a business plan to increase our market shares and devise a Canada-wide communication and marketing plan that will keep (COHA) competitive,” alliance vice-president Paul Jensen, who operates an ornamental marketing company in the Montreal area, said in the government’s release Friday.

CAAP, funded for $163 million over five years (2009-14), is meant in part to help national and regional sector groups “pilot solutions to new and ongoing issues in order to adapt and remain competitive.”

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