On­tario gin­seng eyes growth in Asia

The Expositor (Brantford) - - FRONT PAGE - MICHAEL-AL­LAN MAR­ION EXPOSITOR STAFF

SCOT­LAND — The On­tario Gin­seng Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion is get­ting a $420,000 fed­eral grant to de­velop a strat­egy to pro­mote new mar­kets at home and around the world for Cana­dian gin­seng.

“De­mand for Cana­dian gin­seng is on the rise through­out Asia, with grow­ing interest in In­dia and Ja­pan in our high-qual­ity prod­uct,” Cam­bridge MP Bryan May said Tues­day morn­ing as he stood in the store of Great Moun­tain Gin­seng on Wind­ham Road 3, south of Scot­land, to an­nounce the grant on be­half of Agri­cul­ture and Agri-Food Min­is­ter Lawrence MacAu­lay.

“And mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties are set to grow even fur­ther as science pur­sues the amaz­ing health ben­e­fits of gin­seng.”

May said the min­is­ter couldn’t at­tend Tues­day’s an­nounce­ment be­cause he is in China work­ing to gain more ac­cess for Cana­dian agri­cul­tural goods, such as gin­seng.

The grant will be used to help pro­mote and in­crease the vis­i­bil­ity and de­mand for Cana­dian gin­seng in cur­rent and emerg­ing mar­kets, such as Asia, said May, not­ing that the em­pha­sis will be on so­cial me­dia and a mar­ket­ing cam­paign that in­crease aware­ness of the in­no­va­tive uses for Cana­dian gin­seng in prod­ucts such as soups, teas and cos­met­ics.

The grant also will be used to pro­mote gin­seng through trade shows in Asian mar­kets. There are also plans for me­dia mis­sions lo­cally and abroad.

May lauded the as­so­ci­a­tion for putting On­tario on the map as the world’s largest pro­ducer of North Amer­i­can gin­seng.

“Farm­ers have made gin­seng a great success story for this beau­ti­ful area,” he said.

“Gin­seng is not an easy crop for farm­ers. It re­quires a lot of at­ten­tion and a lot of pa­tience, but the re­wards can be huge. And as much as gin­seng is a tricky crop to grow, the sandy soils of this area are ideal for this na­tive species.”

On in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, gin­seng leads the na­tion with the high­est ex­ports for a field-grown horticultural crop, he noted. Gate re­ceipts ex­ceeded $239 mil­lion last year.

“Those num­bers are amaz­ing,” May said. “Our gov­ern­ment wants to keep work­ing with you for even bet­ter re­sults this year.”

The money will help the as­so­ci­a­tion’s 220 grow­ers in Brant, Nor­folk, Ox­ford and El­gin coun­ties to ex­pand into In­dia, Ja­pan and Viet­nam, where interest in Cana­dian gin­seng is grow­ing

“And mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties are set to grow even fur­ther as science pur­sues the amaz­ing health ben­e­fits of gin­seng,” May said.

“The Agri-Mar­ket­ing pro­gram has trans­formed the gin­seng in­dus­try in On­tario from an un­known en­tity to a global player,” as­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Remi Van De Slyke said as he ex­pressed grat­i­tude for the grant.

Ear­lier sup­port helped the as­so­ci­a­tion move deeper into Chi­nese mar­kets, be­yond Hong Kong, he said. The as­so­ci­a­tion has mounted food shows and trade mis­sions in Viet­nam and In­dia, and wants to do more.

“We’re liv­ing proof that pro­grams like this work,” Van De Slyke said.

The as­so­ci­a­tion also wants to con­cen­trate more on the Cana­dian mar­ket, he said in an in­ter­view.

“It’s one that is of­ten over­looked.”

Shelling Yeh, gen­eral man­ager of Great Moun­tain Gin­seng Co. Ltd., said he be­lieves that us­ing so­cial me­dia and trade shows in mar­ket­ing cam­paigns is the right ap­proach.

“For us, it helps build the im­age of gin­seng in gen­eral,” he said. “It is an On­tario and lo­cal prod­uct that can get more sales.”

Yeh noted that a lot of peo­ple think gin­seng comes from China.

“They don’t know that we make the world’s best gin­seng, and we grow the most.”

BRIAN THOMP­SON/THE EXPOSITOR

Cam­bridge MP Brian May an­nounces more than $420,000 in fed­eral gov­ern­ment fund­ing to help the On­tario Gin­seng Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion in­crease the mar­ket for their prod­ucts.

Remi Van De Slyke

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