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Que. backs greenhouse programs with $2M

Quebec’s agriculture ministry has put up $2 million to support three programs for further development of the province’s greenhouse horticulture sector.

Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard announced the funding Thursday in Boucherville during Horticulture Week events, organized by the provincial horticulture council.

The three new programs, prepared in consultation with the industry, are available for any interested producers starting immediately, the province said in a release Thursday. They include:

  • a program to support energy audits, by which a greenhouse operator can better gauge a facility’s energy use, with an eye toward improving energy use by ferreting out any inefficiencies;
  • a program to back new expertise and improve the Quebec greenhouse sector’s knowledge in the areas of greenhouse engineering and technology transfers; and
  • support for greenhouse operators looking to acquire leading-edge technology, with an eye toward improving their competitive position or their operations’ productivity.

The province said its investment is a follow-up to the recommendations of the Commission sur l’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire quebecois (Commission on the future of Quebec agriculture and agri-food), led by respected former bureaucrat Jean Pronovost. His commission’s report, released a year ago this month, called for the province to help develop production and marketing strategies for greenhouse vegetable production.

According to the provincial ag department, greenhouse production in the province is now spread across about 800 operations, which in 2007 recorded total farm receipts of $225 million. Of that, $76 million came from greenhouse vegetables, while $149 million came from ornamentals.

Pronovost last year had also urged the province to recognize ornamental horticulture as a full-fledged ag sector.

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