Strategically moving Ontario’s hazelnut industry forward

The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) is helping Ontario’s budding hazelnut industry take another step forward on its path to launch a new crop in the province.

Funding from the program has enabled the Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) to hire an administrative coordinator, its first paid staff position; to date the OHA has been run by volunteers.

“The hazelnut industry has high growth potential in Ontario and is recognized as an emerging sector,” says OHA treasurer Scott Deslippe. “The OHA does not have the financial resources to take this step on our own, but with this funding support from the Partnership, we have the ability move our growth to the next level.”

Hazelnuts are a new industry for Ontario. Current market demand for hazelnuts in Ontario alone is estimated at over 45,000 acres which could annually generate over $300 million in hazelnut sales and an economic impact of over $1 billion.

The industry got its start over a decade ago when Ferrero Inc. opened a plant in Brantford and declared their interest in locally grown hazelnuts for their Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Since then, cultivars resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight suitable for Ontario’s climate and best management practices for hazelnut growing in the province have been in development.

OHA’s Administrative Coordinator supports the organization’s operations and activities including developing a financially sustainable model, promoting membership and sponsorships, leading communications and marketing initiatives, and developing educational opportunities and resources about hazelnut production, processing and marketing.

“This new position is providing us with much-needed organizational capacity to engage new producers and grow the hazelnut industry, and helps us on a path toward a self-sustainable model,” says Deslippe.

This project was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of the Partnership in Ontario.