Sales of greenhouse products increased 10.4 per cent to about $2.4 billion in 2009, rebounding from declines in both 2007 and 2008, Statistics Canada reported this week.
Sales of both sod and nursery products also increased in 2009 compared to the previous year, the federal statistics agency said.
Sales of greenhouse flowers and plants were up 12.9 per cent from 2008 to $1.4 billion. All categories of flowers and plants posted higher sales, except for ornamental plants for transplanting (down 20.9 per cent).
Sales of greenhouse fruits and vegetables rose 6.8 per cent to $929 million. Sales of tomatoes, the largest crop, increased 13.1 per cent to $434 million. Despite a 7.6 per cent increase in production, the value of sales for peppers fell 2.4 per cent. Prices obtained by Canadian producers were affected negatively by lower prices for imported peppers from the Netherlands. Growers in Ontario accounted for 60 per cent of sales of greenhouse fruits and vegetables in Canada.
The total greenhouse area expanded by 5.3 per cent to 22.9 million square metres in 2009.
Total operating expenses for greenhouse operators rose by nine per cent to $2.1 billion. Labour costs accounted for more than one-quarter of total expenses. The total number of seasonal and permanent greenhouse workers increased 2.2 per cent to 38,565.
Canada’s total nursery area increased by 1.3 per cent and the total sod area by six per cent.
Sales of nursery products increased by 3.7 per cent to $658 million in 2009. Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec accounted for nearly 90 per cent of nursery sales nationally.
Costs for nursery operators grew 13.3 per cent to $579 million in 2009. Labour costs accounted for 37.6 per cent of the total. Nurseries employed 14,260 people in 2009, nearly three-quarters of whom were seasonal employees.
In Canada, sod cultivators reported sales of $151 million, up 13.9 per cent from a year earlier. Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are the three main sod-producing provinces. The sector employed 1,835 workers, close to three-quarters of whom were seasonal.