The Greenbelt Foundation and the Ontario government are investing more than $280,000 to encourage farmers to replant orchards and vineyards.
Working with the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers marketing board, it hopes farmers will plant 75,000 new trees and 10,000 new vines in the Niagara Region.
Edward McDonnell, chief executive officer of the Greenbelt Foundation, said the Tender Fruit Growers “made a strong case that this was a good opportunity for re-investment in the trees and vines.”
The Foundation subsidy is 30 per cent of the farmers’ costs.
“Our contribution really helps to leverage that investment and I think give some confidence and comfort to the growers themselves,” McDonnell said. “A little bit of investment can lead to a large result.”
The investment is projected to increase fruit production in the region by seven per cent, adding $10 million value and 150 full-time jobs, the Foundation said.
“Consumer and retail demand for locally-grown tender fruit continues to grow,” said Phil Tregunno, chairman of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers, in the release.
“Our replant program is immensely popular among growers,” he said. “We are grateful to the Greenbelt Foundation.”
I hope some of the replanting is peaches because I think none compare with the quality and taste of Niagara peaches.