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Fruit and vegetable production, 2021

Released: 2022-02-10

Fruit and vegetable farm-gate value rose 2.6% to $2.6 billion compared with 2020, despite the unfavourable weather conditions in certain parts of Canada. Harvested area increased 1.7% to 188 539 hectares over the last year.

At the national level, vegetable sales rose by 4.0% to $1.4 billion, mainly driven by higher farm-gate prices. On the other hand, fruit sales remained virtually unchanged, but with regional variations. Sales in the Atlantic provinces increased (+46.0%), but declined in Quebec (-14.7%) and in the Prairies (-10.9%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Farm-gate value of fruits and vegetables
Farm-gate value of fruits and vegetables

Harvested area increases in the Atlantic provinces

Overall, the weather conditions were favourable in the Atlantic provinces, contributing to good yields for fruit crops. Fruit sales rose by 46.0%, while the harvested area increased by 13.0% to 20 957 hectares. This increase in sales is attributable to wild blueberries (+69.1%), strawberries (+52.0%) and apples (+14.6%).

The marketed production of wild blueberries increased 50.1%, mainly because of New Brunswick, where yield increased by 58.7% after recovering from a difficult year in 2020.

Vegetable sales were stable (-0.6%) at $57.1 million, while marketed production increased by 2.0% to 103.7 million kilograms.

Vegetable production bounces back in Quebec

Despite the late spring frost event in Quebec, production of vegetables in 2021 bounced back to reach a level 3.6% above the previous five-year average. In 2021, vegetable sales rose 12.8% to $572.2 million, mostly because of the increase in marketed production (+12.4% to 717.6 million kilograms). Harvested area increased slightly (+1.1%).

In Quebec, fruit sales were down 14.7% compared with 2020, as a late frost at the end of May impacted yields (-13.2%) and affected the supply. Marketed production declined by 12.4% overall, with declines for all main fruits produced in the province, including wild blueberries (-52.9%), apples (-8.0%) and cranberries (-5.0%).

Ontario peach production partly recovers from 2020 drought

Following a decrease in 2020, Ontario fruit sales rose (+1.7%) in 2021. Peach sales grew 37.3% to $33.1 million in 2021 following a down year in 2020, when the peach crop suffered from drought conditions. Nevertheless, the quantity produced in 2021 was still 11.5% below the previous five-year average.

Marketed production of apples was down 17.9% in 2021, while sales decreased 15.9%, compared with 2020. A cold spring and dry summer conditions affected this commodity.

Overall, Ontario vegetable producers reported decreases in sales (-1.0%), production (-3.5%), yield (-2.9%) and harvested area (-0.6%). However, total production of tomatoes increased by 4.4% to 502.1 million kilograms, because of an increase in harvested area (+4.3%). A warm spring started the asparagus season early, with 2021 showing production increases of 23.9% to 7.3 million kilograms, bouncing back from low production seen in 2020.

Prairie fruit sales decline for a second consecutive year

Fruit sales in the Prairies declined for the second consecutive year, down 10.9% in 2021. Strawberry sales decreased 28.1%, while production dropped 34.3% to 351 000 kilograms, mostly because of a lower harvested area (-29.1% to 107 hectares).

Prairie vegetable sales decreased (-1.7%) for the first time since 2013 to hit $90.4 million. Producers in Manitoba (-9.8%) and Saskatchewan (-9.3%) both reported a decline, while Alberta saw sales increase by 4.3%. Alberta represents 60.4% of the total vegetable sales in the Prairies.

British Columbia vegetable producers face weather challenges

British Columbia faced a number of challenging weather events this year. As a result, harvests for certain vegetables with longer growing seasons, such as carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, were delayed or lost.

During the summer months, some fruits trees were damaged by the heat wave. Sweet cherries marketed production was down 17.0% to 15.1 million kilograms, and sales were down 12.1% to $64.8 million. Overall, fruit sales remained stable (-0.1%), owing to higher sales for cranberries (+12.7%) and highbush blueberries (+7.6%).

Vegetable sales decreased slightly (-1.9%) compared with last year, while marketed production declined (-10.2% to 67.6 million kilograms).

  Note to readers

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.

Changes in methodology were made to the Fruit and Vegetable Survey beginning in 2018. For more information on the methodology changes, consult the Integrated Business Statistics Program, available in the Behind the data feature of the Statistics Canada website.

For more information on agriculture and food, visit the Agriculture and food statistics portal. Data users can also visualize survey data results with the interactive Crop production: Visualization tool.

For the latest information on the Census of Agriculture, visit the Census of Agriculture portal.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Serge DesRoches (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca), Agriculture Division.

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