Written by Statistics Canada; May 4, 2012, Ottawa – Sales of greenhouse, nursery and sod products in Canada rose 1.3 per cent to nearly $3.3 billion in 2011, according to StatsCan.
The increase was mostly the result of a 5.5 per cent gain in sales of greenhouse vegetables and fruits, which reached $1.1 billion.
Canada had 3,220 greenhouse operations in 2011, down from 3,285 in 2010. However, the total greenhouse area increased from 22.5 million square metres to nearly 23.0 million square metres. Most of this expansion was in greenhouse vegetable production.
For a fifth consecutive year, the value of greenhouse vegetable sales exceeded sales of field vegetables.
• Sales of tomatoes, the most valuable crop, rose 4.0 per cent to $496 million.
• Sales of peppers increased 7.7 per cent to $300 million.
• Cucumber sales were up 5.3 per cent to $279 million.
Growers in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec accounted for 95.6 per cent of greenhouse vegetable and fruit sales in 2011. Ontario alone represented 63.3 per cent.
Sales and resales of greenhouse flowers and plants fell 0.1 per cent to $1.4 billion. The main factor was a drop in ornamental bedding plants sales for transplanting (-12.8 per cent). Floriculture represented 55.1 per cent of total greenhouse product sales in 2011.
The expansion of total greenhouse area was accompanied by a 0.3 per cent increase in total operating expenses.
Labour costs rose 3.0 per cent to $616 million, which accounted for 29.2 per cent of total expenses.
The total number of seasonal and permanent greenhouse workers fell 2.2 per cent to 36,110.
NURSERY SECTOR SALES DOWN
On the nursery side, sales of nursery products declined 2.0 per cent to $632 million. Total area decreased 1.6 per cent to 19,463 hectares. Costs for nursery operators increased 0.7 per cent to $582 million in 2011, of which labour accounted for almost 40 per cent.
Nurseries employed 13,945 people, nearly 70 per cent of whom were seasonal employees.