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FEBRUARY 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC


21 Cannabis propagation industry sprouting in BC


Bevo and Houweling’s chase the green wave


by SEAN HITREC DELTA – BC’s greenhouse


industry is adjusting to its newest crop, and the province’s two main propagators are retrofitting their operations to


accommodate cannabis with fresh capital from investors. Houweling’s Tomatoes and


Bevo Farms Ltd. began retrofitting their propagation facilities for cannabis last year. Houweling’s general manager Ruben Houweling considers cannabis production an extension of its long-running propagation business.


“Being that we're a supplier


to the greenhouse industry, I think the initial interest was to maintain that,” says Houweling. Houweling told Country Life


in BC last April that orders for new vegetable seedlings were down as a result of cannabis legalization. BC Greenhouse Growers


Association chair Linda Delli Santi says the association hadn’t thought about propagators moving to cannabis before they heard the news, but the transition makes sense. “We lost 85 acres [to cannabis] last year that might have been propagating through Houweling’s, and if not, through Bevo,” she says. Greenhouse growers who


rely on the two propagators for seedlings haven’t expressed concerns. Both companies remain committed to supplying vegetable growers, she adds. Bevo is converting a new


greenhouse in Aldergrove to continue its propagation business while preparing its facility in Langley for cannabis. Houweling’s is exploring its options during the retrofit of its 2.2-million- square-foot greenhouse in Delta. When fully converted, the Delta greenhouse will become the second-largest cannabis greenhouse in


Ruben Houweling is retrofitting his vegetable greenhouse in Delta to make way for cannabis propogation. SEAN HITREC PHOTO


Canada. Meanwhile, the two businesses are getting used to new faces. Houweling’s has partnered


with AgraFlora Organics International Inc., a cannabis company with a licensed facility in Ontario. That facility in Ontario was acquired December 18 with the purchase of AAA Heidelberg Inc.


On June 29, 2018, publicly


traded AgraFlora, then known as PUF Ventures Inc., partnered with Houweling’s and formed Propagation Services Canada Inc. The partnership included “an exclusive 15-year licence to Houweling’s currently operating large-scale, vegetable propagation [business],” PUF said in a release. AgraFlora later released plans to convert Houweling’s Delta facility in three phases. The retrofit would start with 350,000 square feet and will be completed by the end of March 2019. By the end of the


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Happy hazelnut farmer with crop.





 


www.reimersfarmservice.com 855.737.0110


info@reimersfarmservice.com


year, an additional 1.45 million square feet will be retrofitted for cannabis. The remaining 300,000 square feet will be converted in the future. Aside from bringing the capital needed to complete the retrofit, AgraFlora will


facilitate the application of a production licence from Health Canada, Houweling says. AgraFlora will also help Houweling’s establish a place in the market, both in Canada and abroad. Houweling’s provides


AgraFlora a massive, vertically


integrated greenhouse and 40 years of growing experience. The Delta greenhouse includes everything from a rainwater collection system to a power plant large enough to run


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