Fruit, vegetable production expected down: StatsCan

Canada’s fruit and vegetable acres to be harvested this year are expected to be down from 2008 levels, according to Statistics Canada.

Canadian farmers reported planting 528,000 acres of fruits and vegetables in the spring of 2009, down three per cent from the spring of 2008, the federal statistics agency said in a release Friday.

Vegetable growers planted about 240,000 acres of vegetables, of which they expect to harvest 238,000 acres.

Harvesting area is down 1.3 per cent from the previous year. More than half (58.2 per cent) of the 2009 crop will go to fresh markets, and the rest for processing.

Quebec and Ontario continue to represent 83.7 per cent of the expected vegetable area.

The five major processing vegetables, sweet corn, green peas, carrots, beans and tomatoes, accounted for 58.7 per cent of the total expected vegetable area in Canada.

Farmers indicated increased plantings of lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers and gherkins, leeks and shallots. They reported, however, fewer green peas, tomatoes, dry onions and carrots.

Fruit-bearing area

Fruit operators planned to cultivate 288,000 acres of fruit, of which 190,000 acres, around two-thirds of the area, will bear fruit this year. This fruit-bearing area is down 3.6 per cent from a year earlier.

About two-thirds of the fruit from the fruit-bearing area will be processed, including almost all the low-bush blueberry, cranberry, vinifera grape and sour cherry area.

Apples, blueberries and grapes account for 82.6 per cent of the planted area in 2009. New planting for apples along with other tree fruit such as peaches and pears has declined, specifically in Ontario. On the other hand, new plantings of vinifera grapes and cranberries increased this spring.

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