Between 2014-2015, Canadian greenhouse growers participated in a series of trade missions in Asia that helped boost consumer demand for Ontario-grown produce. Thanks to successful export marketing efforts in Hong Kong and China, Ontario greenhouse cucumbers are now generating new international revenues for agri-food businesses.
This exporting opportunity was identified by the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), which is a non-profit organization supporting agri-food businesses. OGVG explained that one of the biggest challenges introducing cucumbers to Asian markets was getting consumers to believe that Canadian farmers have the ability to produce year-round. However, during the trade missions, Ontario agri-food businesses did an excellent job of educating consumers about Canadian produce and how to service global food preferences.
Successful international expansion can also be attributed to government funding contributions provided to support this series of trade missions. Ontario agriculture grants supported export marketing and expansion initiatives carried out by OGVG. Today, Ontario businesses are responding to increased demands and can typically deliver fresh cucumber to Asia within 2-3 days after picking.
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Ontario Greenhouse Cucumbers Are in High Demand
Despite regulations and logistical concerns, Ontario agricultural businesses are thriving in international markets. Through successful trade shows and marketing, Ontario agri-food producers have expanded their reach to consumers in Asia. Trade missions allowed businesses to educate consumers and showcase products in order to drive demand.
Currently, a series of pilot shipments are taking place between Ontario and Asian businesses to solidify this new venture. However, OVGV expects that this will soon transpire into weekly shipments since Ontario growers can ensure their greenhouse cucumbers reach Asia within 2-3 days after picking.
Based on the success of each trade mission, the OVGV predicts that businesses will have the ability to generate new sources of revenue, create more job opportunities, and drive economic growth in Ontario.
“Ontario greenhouse cucumbers look different from what Asian consumers are used to because we grow different varieties. We considered that challenge and hosted our own trade show to demonstrate our products.”
– Jacquie Trombley, Marketer Liaison Officer, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG)
Small Business Funding for Export Expansion
Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from government funding for export expansion. One funding program that supports export marketing and expansion activities is CanExport.
The CanExport program supports the development of international markets generating less than 10% or $20,000 of total international sales in the last 24 months. This includes travel to the new export market, trade show participation, and translating marketing materials (if necessary) to attract clients in the foreign market.
Eligible applicants may receive up to 50% coverage of export marketing expenses totaling between $10,000 and $50,000 in Canadian government grants per application.
Learn How to Successful Access New International Markets
International business relationships and long-term exporting activities are a major contributor to the Canadian economy. Business owners looking to improve their global competitiveness and profitability can access government grants to support export expansion strategies.
Growth oriented businesses are encouraged to download the Canadian Business Guide to Export Expansion to identify what opportunities exist.