Canada’s horticultural industry plays a vital role in producing local, fresh food for millions. Many of the farms employ seasonal workers, temporary foreign workers, and international workers, but now, the effects of COVID-19 have been posing a major challenge. Nearly a year on, new restrictions and requirements are threatening horticulture production yet again.
For some farms, the added cost of chartered flights, a government-mandated hotel stay, and the uncertainty of even getting workers here may be too much risk to take on — already, some farms are pulling back their plans for 2021. Acreage is likely to be cut, but by how much depends largely on how long it takes to get clarity on the travel rules and regulations, and the additional costs to bring workers to Canada.
According to realagriculture.com¸ there’s a real risk of farms moving away from vegetable production on a large scale in 2021, although right now, no one is brave enough to put a number on the estimated pull-back in production. As we saw in 2020, the “Freedom Gardens” that many thought were a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence may prove popular yet again.
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