Greenhouse Canada

COVID-19 Updates News Management
Crop loss could be catastrophic for greenhouse producer


May 7, 2020
By Greenhouse Canada

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Losing a crop this early in a season is a catastrophic scenario for Greenhill Produce, says the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (OFVGA).

Details of the COVID-19 outbreak at the greenhouse operation in Chatham-Kent was released as a case study in OFVGA’s report, illustrating the importance of immediate containment and how the 14-day quarantine period affects the producer in an uninsurable scenario.

Greenhill Produce is a 127-acre greenhouse operation with two locations, employing 250 of equal local and international workers. 47 workers were confirmed for COVID-19 by April 29, and those who came in contact with affected workers also required isolation, amounting to over 110 employees in quarantine.

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According to the report, Chatham-Kent Public Health has traced the source of the infection to a local Chatham-Kent worker who showed signs of COVID-19 on April 8.

“Without the addition of 90 to 135 short-term workers, the crop will be lost,” says the report. This means a farmgate revenue loss of between $20-28 million dollars equal to 12.8 million kg of vegetables.

“To put this value into perspective, this is 790 full tractor-trailer loads of fresh peppers for the retail market. If the local community is able to rally around Greenhill and help them get through the next 3 to 5 weeks and keep the crop alive, they have the potential to recover and continue providing safe food to Canadians. However, without this, it is an enormous impact to Canada’s food security, as well as catastrophic for Greenhill and local employment within Chatham-Kent.”