Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $560,425 for Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement Inc. (IRDA) to develop a new, integrated system of precision fruit tree farming.
Canadian apple growers operate in a competitive environment and face many challenges, including threats from pests and disease, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and labor shortages. IRDA is using the funds to pilot and test a system that uses exclusion netting, narrow fruiting walls, and mechanized operations.
Adopting these labor-saving technology and practices and improved crop protection methods will help the sector continue to produce high-quality apples while moving toward pesticide-free growing. The project will also help the sector cope with the impacts of extreme weather brought on by climate change and reduce or eliminate the use of most pesticides used in fruit growing.
Precision agriculture is helping farmers better manage their operations and become more efficient and competitive. Investing in innovative precision agriculture tools and cutting-edge approaches is a fundamental way to help the Canadian agricultural sector grow and remain competitive.
By integrating a suite of advanced fruit tree technologies and techniques into one system, IRDA's innovative approach would be a first of its kind in North America. The Government of Canada is committed to investing in innovative and sustainable solutions to help tackle the challenges facing the Canadian apple industry.
- Apples are Canada's top fruit crop in terms of production volume, representing 43.5 percent of the total production of Canadian fruit in 2020.
- The funding announced today is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.
- Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement is a research and development institute with a mission to support the development of sustainable agriculture in Québec by fostering innovation and partnerships.
- The project will take place in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec, at the experimental orchard at Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno. At this experimental orchard, IRDA conducts research and development and the transfer of sustainable and environmental solutions in the area of apple farming. This includes insect monitoring, biological pest control, orchard layout, as well as rationalizing the use of and reducing the potential impacts of pesticides.
For more information:
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Tel.: +1 343-541-9229
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Tel.: +1 866-345-7972