Quebec company aims to reduce dependence on imported produce with giant greenhouse project

·1 min read
Productions Horticoles Demers CEO Jacques Demers says Quebecers have an even greater taste for local produce because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Productions Horticoles Demers CEO Jacques Demers says Quebecers have an even greater taste for local produce because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

A Quebec produce company is hoping to get the province's largest greenhouse up and running before the end of the year.

A 15-hectare, $70-million greenhouse in Lévis — equivalent in size to about 18 Canadian football fields — will more than double the company's existing greenhouse capacity.

The company, Productions Horticoles Demers, got a $30-million loan from the provincial government to make the project possible, plus electricity rebates that will offset the costs of heat in the winter months.

Company CEO Jacques Demers said the expansion will help reduce the province's dependence on imports, which have high financial and environmental costs.

"Quebec consumers want more local products," he said.

The 15-hectare greenhouse will be about the size of 18 Canadian football fields.
The 15-hectare greenhouse will be about the size of 18 Canadian football fields.(Submitted)

He added that while the company was already planning a project of this scale for the future, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated people's awareness about the importance of local produce, which moved up the project.

The greenhouse will produce between 17 to 18,000 tonnes of produce, which Demers said is about 175 million vegetable portions.

Construction will take all summer, and Demers said he expects the first crops of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and eggplants will be ready by December.

The main challenge, Demers said, will be keeping the production and sales costs competitive.