B.C.'s high-tech greenhouse vegetable and floriculture growers will receive $7.6 million from the Province in carbon tax relief, allowing producers to focus on maintaining their competitive edge and building B.C.'s half-billion-dollar-a-year greenhouse industry.
The B.C. Greenhouse Growers' Association will administer the application process for $6 million in grants for greenhouse vegetable growers, and the United Flower Growers Cooperative Association will administer $1.6 million in grants for greenhouse floriculture growers.
The Province is providing the temporary funding in recognition of the impact of the carbon tax on the natural gas and propane that greenhouse growers use for heating and carbon dioxide production. The carbon tax relief will be distributed in 2012 only. Over the next year, the Province will undertake a comprehensive review of the carbon tax and its impact on British Columbians.
B.C. greenhouses are internationally regarded for their sophisticated, energy-efficient operations - including the use of soil-free growing, integrated pest management, automated climate-control computers and recycled-water irrigation systems. As a result of their innovation, B.C. greenhouse vegetable producers have among the highest yields in the world.
As part of the BC Jobs Plan, a special report to identify opportunities for innovation in B.C.'s greenhouse sector was prepared with the input of industry. It identified the carbon tax as a significant challenge facing the growth of the sector.
The Ministry of Agriculture also launched B.C's Agrifoods Strategy as part of the BC Jobs Plan. The strategy sets out a five-year action plan to promote local food and farming, the growth of B.C's high-quality, high-value food products, and the expansion of both domestic and international markets. The Ministry of Agriculture is also working with agencies and stakeholders to promote further innovation in heating technology and leading an export analysis study to identify new markets for B.C. greenhouse products.
Interested producers should contact the respective association for application forms, details and deadlines.
Minister of Agriculture Don McRae -
"B.C.'s greenhouse growers are among the most-innovative, technically advanced and sustainably managed producers in the world. Providing the sector with carbon tax relief is one of 49 actions identified in the BC Jobs Plan Agrifoods Strategy that will lead our agrifoods sector to becoming a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017."
B.C. Greenhouse Growers' Association president Peter Cummings -
"The bottom line is B.C. growers will be able to better compete with producers in the U.S.A. and Mexico as a result of the carbon tax grant. Today's announcement is the result of consultations we've had with the B.C. government through the BC Jobs Plan, and we look forward to focusing on building B.C.'s share of the greenhouse vegetable market."
United Flowers Growers Cooperative Association chair John Kerkhoven -
"This decisive action to rebate carbon tax in 2012 enables B.C. flower growers to compete on an even playing field with growers from other countries and provinces."
"A high Canadian dollar, low commodity prices and open borders make competition difficult, but with help like this, our growers can compete fairly and continue to grow the highest-quality cut flowers and potted plants. We are very appreciative of the Province's strong support for a viable and growing floriculture industry."
The Greenhouse Carbon Tax Temporary Relief Program
- Eligible growers must be operational in 2012, have had 2011 sales greater than $20,000, use at least 455 square metres for commercial production, and be able to include their 2011 fuel receipts in their applications.
- The grants will be provided on 2011 volumes of fuel used, multiplied by 4.2 cents per litre of propane and $1.37 per Gigajoule of natural gas.
- The Province will receive a report by Jan. 31, 2013 outlining how the funding was disbursed.
B.C.'s Greenhouse producers
- The greenhouse vegetable and floriculture sector in B.C. is the second-largest in Canada, with 2011 sales of $515 million.
- B.C.'s greenhouse growers currently employ about 5,500 British Columbians in 480 greenhouses that produce tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, plants and flowers.
- Greenhouse growers pay an estimated $7.6 million in carbon tax on fuel for heating and plant production in one year.
- B.C. exported more than $139 million of greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in 2011, the great majority to the U.S.A.
- B.C.'s floriculture greenhouses produce a wide range of ornamental plants, including both flowering potted plants and cut flowers. B.C.'s largest export market is also the U.S.A.
Introductions to the industries are at: http://www.bcgreenhouse.ca and http://www.ufgca.com
The Strategy behind B.C. Agrifoods sector growing from $10.5 to $14 billion: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/agrifoodsstrategy.html
We want to hear from you. Share your ideas at: www.BCjobsplan.ca
Photo from Event:
Ministry of Agriculture