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Government invests $330K to upgrade SPUD Unit

June 26, 2024  By Potatoes in Canada

Ontario’s Superior Plant Upgrading and Distribution (SPUD) Unit in New Liskeard is set for a significant investment to enhance its practices.

The governments of Canada and Ontario will invest up to $330,000 through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership in the unit, which will enable a variety of capital and equipment upgrades including improvements to irrigation and air filtration, temperature control, increases to sterilization capacity and improvements to its greenhouse coverings. It will improve the ability to anticipate, detect, mitigate and reduce plant diseases and pests along the supply chain, benefitting potato, berry, garlic, sweet potato and hazelnut growers in the province.

Federal ag minister Lawrence MacAuley said in a statement that this investment “will help growers access top-quality crops and crop research so they can reach current markets and create new opportunities.” The SPUD Unit is a major contributor to Ontario’s horticultural industry, producing 10 per cent of the mini tubers needed for seed potato production in Ontario, and is the only source in Canada for garlic seed suited for the Ontario climate.

“The SPUD Unit is a critical piece of infrastructure, supporting the clean seed and propagation needs of several significant edible horticulture crops in Ontario,” said Shawn Brenn, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, in a statement. “This investment is crucial to the continuity of the SPUD Unit as we collaborate with government on its future success.”

The SPUD Unit is operated by the University of Guelph and funded in part by the Ontario Agri-food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between OMAFRA, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario and the University of Guelph to advance research and innovation.

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