Country Life in BC

April 17, 2019

Greenhouse vegetables rebound from cannabis

by PETER MITHAM

Vegetable production isn’t going to pot in the Lower Mainland, attendees of the BC Vegetable Marketing Commission’s annual general meeting heard April 10.

A year ago, the removal of 96 acres of regulated greenhouse acreage – primarily sweet bell peppers – for cannabis production threatened to squeeze commission revenues.

“We can speculate that that number is increasing,” commission general manager Andre Solymosi said of the lost acreage.

While the commission collected a lower volume of levies in 2018 – $329,115 versus $345,369 in 2017 – the decline wasn’t as sharp it could have been if new acreage hadn’t been added.

The net loss was actually between 50 and 60 acres, and additional acreage this year should boost greenhouse production to levels comparable to 2017.

Meanwhile, cannabis production continues to expend. Pure Sunfarms, a joint venture between greenhouse vegetable producer Village Farms International Inc. and Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc., announced last week it was exercising its option to a second 25-acre greenhouse in Delta for cannabis production. It now has rights to 50 acres of production space.

All told, industry sources indicate that more than 225 acres could eventually be growing cannabis in the Lower Mainland.

Cannabis will likely be among the concerns addressed the annual general meeting of the BC Greenhouse Growers Association, which takes place April 17 in Surrey.