Boost for Ontario ginseng growers
Ontario ginseng has become a hot commodity in markets around the world in the past decade, and Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister wants to help farmers capitalize on that growth.
Lawrence MacAulay visited the farm of Bob Yin just south of Waterford on Tuesday to announce an investment of $360,521 to the Ontario Ginseng Growers’ Association (OGGA) to help in promotion and pursuit of new markets, including India.
“Over the past decade the value of (Canada’s) ginseng exports have increased by 200 percent,” MacAulay told a small crowd. “Around the world, Ontario ginseng is much in demand for its health properties. Here at home new research is exploring exciting new applications for this amazing crop. We need to build on this momentum and to keep ahead of the competition.”
MacAulay added that the growing demand will help Canada meet its target of $75 billion in agriculture exports by 2025. The investment falls under the Canadian Agricultural Partners, Agrimarketing Program, which has been a major boon for growers, said Remi Van De Slyke of King Lake, chair of the OGGA.
Van De Slyke recently returned from a food show in Taiwan. The growers have been represented at the show for the last 10 years where Van De Slyke has seen a transformation from a “niche market” to “one of the biggest in the world.”
“In the last three years we have three official licensed partners, a huge market presence, our logo is now recognized in Taiwan, we do many promotions and advertising and have built a great relationship with their many related associations,” Van De Slyke said.
“Our industry has transformed into a global player. Our ginseng is recognized as a premium product and the demand speaks for itself. What we have achieved in Taiwan is what we are currently doing in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Southeast Asia.”
Ontario ginseng is so good that competitors have resorted to trying to slander its quality in news publications, Van De Slyke told the group.
“Our flavour and our quality can’t be replicated, it is the best product in the world,” he added.
For as good a job as growers and the OGGA have done in recent years, MacAulay wants them to continue to push the envelope. Tuesday’s stop was part of a Growing Canadian Agriculture tour which started in Quebec last week and ends in B.C. on July 17.
“We need to make sure more people know what we have here and that, in fact, is what this is all about,” said MacAulay.
“The demand is good but we want it better, we want it bigger and we want more people to know.”
This article is courtesy of Jacob Robinson of the Simcoe Reformer.