On July 3, federal ag minister Lawrence MacAulay announced an investment of $360,521 to the Ontario Ginseng Growers' Association (OGGA) for an AgriMarketing Program to help promote and pursue new markets, including India. This represents a new phase of increasing demand for Canadian-grown ginseng beyond the current Asian markets.
Canada is a global leader in the production of North American ginseng, particularly Ontario. It is the largest field-grown horticultural export with sales of more than $228 million a year, with approximately 95 per cent exported to Asia.
"The funding we get from the AgriMarketing Program allows us to develop new markets, educate the consumer, and properly brand our ginseng as the premium product that it is,” says Remi Van De Slyke, chair of the OGGA. “This program has helped solidify our reputation as having the highest- quality ginseng in the world.”
Ginseng is native to southwestern Ontario. Van De Slyke says it’s a very site-specific commodity; even though it can be planted in other parts of the country such as British Columbia, it thrives in southwestern Ontario. The state of Wisconsin is the OGGA’s biggest North American competitor, he says.
This investment under the new Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriMarketing Program will help the OGGA stay in front of its competitors, increase domestic and international market demand, and strengthen Canada's reputation as a producer of high-quality, safe and clean Canadian-grown ginseng.
“It’s great for our industry and the government believes in our success. We’ve had a great track record of growth and innovation and producing a high-quality premium product,” Van De Slyke says.
The announcement is part of the minister's cross-country ‘Growing Canadian Agriculture' tour which started in Quebec and ends in British Columbia on July 17.