Greenhouse growth continues at more moderate pace

03/15/2013 02:24:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Growth in the greenhouse industry continues, but not at the same rate as in past years, even in Mexico, grower-shippers and marketers say.

“There has been moderate growth in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico,” said Aaron Quon, greenhouse and vegetable category director for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia. “Mexican production is still growing year over year, but not at the same high levels we have seen in the past.”

The Canadian greenhouse industry isn’t growing as fast now as it has at certain times in the past, said Joe Spano, vice president of sales and marketing for Mucci Farm, Kingsville.

“It goes through spurts,” he said. “Everybody’s in a holding pattern now. We’ve had two years of volatile markets. There’s not much building going on right now.”

It’s not just Canada that’s going through a lull, Spano said.

“Mexico is experiencing the same thing, from what I understand,” he said.

Shade houses may still be going up at brisk paces in Mexico, but higher-tech forms of protected agriculture aren’t, Spano said.

Most of the products Langley, British Columbia-based BC Hot House Foods Inc. ships from British Columbia in the spring and summer, it also ships from Mexico in the fall and winter, president Mike Reed said.

Reed said he has much fewer concerns than in the past about Mexico living up to BC standards.

“Mexican product has gotten a lot better the last couple of years,” he said. “Good supplies and quality.”

This year BC will grow some of its Canadian staples for the first time in Mexico, Reed said. They include blushers, a pink cherry tomato of Japanese descent; and Gem medley tomatoes.

There’s no arguing where the biggest growth in the North American greenhouse vegetable industry is, Reed said.

“The percentages coming out of Mexico are a lot higher than British Columbia, Leamington or the U.S.,” he said. “There’s a lot of shift in Mexico from open field to protected.”



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