A Statistics Canada report on agriculture states
that homegrown strawberry and apple crops are on the decline.
Despite Canada's record of producing quality domestic apples, the industry is facing growing pressure from international competitors.
"With low commodity prices, high production costs and increasing international competition influencing a farmer's decision to remain or even enter the apple industry, it is not surprising that Canada spends more than three times as much importing fresh apples than it receives in fresh apple exports," the report says.
"Finding a wide variety of apples from around the world at your fingertips is no stretch of the imagination."
The 2006 census of agriculture indicated there were a total of 4,190 apple farms across Canada. In 2006, farms produced 376,459 tonnes — a 7.9 per cent decrease from 2005 and about a 25 per cent decrease from 1996 levels, the report says.
The number of strawberry farms has dropped notably. The number of farms, between 2001 and 2006, has dropped 5.5 per cent and the number of hectares in production has decreased from over 6,000 in 2001 to 5,200 in 2006.
"Canadians certainly have a taste for strawberries — and our imports have rapidly outpaced our declining domestic production," the report says.