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Cultivating more competitive greenhouse vegetables

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Cultivating more competitive greenhouse vegetables

Ensuring a secure and sustainable food supply for Canadians is mission critical. COVID-19 exposed the vulnerabilities in food supply chains, including the importing of fresh fruits and vegetables from the U.S. to provide Canadians with nutritious and diverse food. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers generate more than $1 billion in annual sales for the Canadian greenhouse vegetable industry. These plants are susceptible to many diseases that threaten crops and decrease producer profits, with estimated annual losses of $200 million. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, in a project funded by Genome Canada, is using proven gene technologies to enhance vegetable disease resistance.

The project aims to develop new commercial varieties with improved disease resistance for Canada’s greenhouse vegetable industry, making it more competitive by creating economic growth, increasing exports and reducing competition from imports and increasing food security for Canadians. Recent project results estimate a 25-30% increase in disease resistance. From this project, a spin-off trait development and genomics service company, Platform Genetics Inc., addresses the needs of seed companies and public-sector plant breeding programs.

In partnership with Ontario Genomics