In preparation for the “Green Rush,” several medical cannabis companies have partnered with vegetable growers and greenhouse farmers.
Cannabis companies are furiously leveraging deals with vegetable growers and greenhouse farmers. Such partnerships could help solidify the future of select companies within the Canadian recreational marijuana industry.
The Rundown on the deals:
- Emerald Health Therapeutics is partnering with Village Farms in Delta, B.C.
- Aphria has teamed up with southern Ontario’s Double Diamond Farms
- Canopy Growth Corp. is taking over a 700,000-square-foot organic greenhouse in Mirabel, Quebec
Farmers hope to boost profits
Canopy is still pushing the envelope when it comes to expansion. The company is partnering with or acquiring greenhouses across Canada. Adam Greenblatt, Canopy’s Quebec brand manager says,
“We want to establish production in every province because it seems like there’s going to be some preference for local producers,”
Vegetable growers are hoping that partnering with companies like Canopy will help boost slowing profit margins.
“When we started, the margins were fantastic,” says Michael DeGiglio, CEO of Village farms. Degiglio says that cheaper Mexican produce available since the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has forced Canadian farmers to sell at a lower price point.
Opportunities growing with cannabis legalization
Degligio adds that boosting profit through cannabis will help compensate for lower-margin vegetable businesses. In terms of viability and longevity, he says: “This can only help with the produce side.”
But he is not the only vegetable grower that sees the opportunity in cannabis. The general manager of tomato producer Les Serres Stephane Bertrand in Quebec, Slyvain Miron, also tapped into the cannabis business. He believes a joint venture with Canopy can help protect his company’s future. Miron says,
“After a few discussions, we saw it was an opportunity to be safer for a longer-term period.”
Vegetable growers are converting to cannabis growing to boost their margins, but cannabis companies are looking for cost-effective strategies for expansion. In most cases, it’s quicker and cheaper to acquire and convert existing greenhouses than to construct new ones.
Greenblatt describes the joint-venture with the Quebec firm as “a very good investment for us.”
Joint ventures also come with the bonus of allowing cannabis companies – especially those eyeing expansion into the recreational and export markets – to absorb experienced growers. In fact, cannabis and tomatoes share many of the same growing principles and techniques.