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Certified organic fruit and vegetable production estimates, 2020

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Released: 2021-07-14

Data on certified organic fruit and vegetable production

In 2020, certified organic fruit and vegetable farmers grew and sold more produce, despite adverse weather conditions and labour shortages amid the pandemic. Nevertheless, certified organic production accounted for 6.4% of the total fruit and vegetables sold nationally in 2020.

Certified organic fruit and vegetable cultivated area increased 8.2% to 19 506 hectares in 2020. However, adverse weather conditions for some fruit farmers contributed to a 4.3% decrease to $161.5 million in the farm-gate value of certified organic fruits and vegetables. Canadian organic farmers also faced labour shortages and marketing challenges in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Certified organic fruit and vegetable cultivated area, 2020
Certified organic fruit and vegetable cultivated area, 2020

Fruit production: Certified organic cranberry sales fall by over a quarter

Total certified organic fruit cultivated area in Canada rose 8.4% from a year earlier, to 14 435 hectares in 2020. Fruit bearing area was up 9.8% to 8 995 hectares.

Quebec accounted for the largest share of cultivated area (83.7%), followed by British Columbia (9.3%) and Ontario (5.6%). Wild blueberries (78.6%) and cranberries (16.3%) accounted for almost all the certified organic cultivated area in Quebec.

The farm-gate value of certified organic fruit fell 7.7% to $100 million, partially attributable to a 27.4% drop in certified organic cranberry farm-gate value to $35.7 million.

Conversely, the farm-gate value increased for certified organic apples (+19.7% to $21.9 million), certified organic wild blueberries (+16.6% to $13.2 million) and certified organic strawberries (+12.9% to $2.2 million). As mentioned in the February release, wild blueberry and apple production rose in 2020.

Domestic organic fruit production accounts for small share of organic fruit supplies

Canada generally imports far more certified organic fresh fruit than is grown and sold domestically. For example, 237 000 kilograms of certified organic strawberries were grown and sold domestically, while 7.5 million kilograms were imported in 2020, with the vast majority coming from the United States (83.5%) and Mexico (16.5%).

Imports also largely exceeded domestic production for certified organic grapes (9.4 million kilograms versus 2.6 million kilograms) and pears (2.8 million kilograms versus 621 000 kilograms). For nine different fruits, imports worth $201 million in 2020 were two times greater than domestic certified organic fruit farm-gate values. Most imported certified organic common fruit comes from the United States.

Canadian farmers are growing more certified organic vegetables

Total certified organic vegetable cultivated area in Canada (excluding potatoes, greenhouse vegetables and seeds) rose 7.7% to 5 071 hectares. Quebec accounted for four-fifths (80.3%) of the total certified organic vegetable cultivated area, followed by Ontario (8.3%) and British Columbia (7.5%). In 2020, certified organic vegetable cultivated area represented 5.1% of the entire field vegetable area.

Green peas (1 236 hectares) accounted for the largest total certified organic vegetable cultivated area, followed by sweet corn (868 hectares), beans (534 hectares), broccoli (262 hectares), cauliflower (255 hectares) and carrots (248 hectares).

Organic farm-gate receipts rose 1.8% to $61.3 million, accounting for 4.6% of the total field vegetable farm-gate value in 2020. Over half of the total certified organic vegetables grown domestically were produced in Quebec ($34.8 million) in 2020, while less than one-third were grown in British Columbia ($12.5 million) and Ontario ($6.6 million).

Carrots are Canada's leading certified organic vegetable import

In 2020, 86.6% of the certified organic baby carrots, regular carrots, watermelon, onions and broccoli imported in Canada were grown in the United States. Baby carrots (10.8 million kilograms) topped certified organic vegetable imports, followed by regular carrots (9.9 million kilograms), onions (9.7 million kilograms) and broccoli (2.3 million kilograms).

Recent drought conditions in California—a leading vegetable-growing state—may affect the future supply and prices of certified organic vegetables in Canada.

  Note to readers

These estimates should be used with caution. The organic farm database, which was used to identify which farms in the Fruits and Vegetables Survey are organic, is not complete. Therefore, there may be undercoverage in the estimates. The use of administrative data to improve the quality of the estimates has been limited to Quebec and British Columbia.

The estimates of cultivated area and production for certified organic fruits and vegetables were derived from the Fruits and Vegetables Survey. The Fruits and Vegetables Survey tracks the total cultivated area, harvested area, total production, marketed production and farm-gate value of selected fruits and vegetables grown in Canada, including certified organic and conventional farms. Our regular release for the entire estimates was published on February 10, 2021.

Administrative data sources were also used, such as cultivated area collected by the Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants, to enhance the quality of the data.

Farm-gate value is the value received by producers at the point of first transaction, when ownership first changes hands. This value excludes any separately billed costs such as delivery, storage, marketing and administration.

Find out more about agriculture and food statistics. Data users can also visualize survey data results in the interactive crop production visualization tool.

Support the 2021 Census of Agriculture.

Contact information

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