COVID-19 provides significant worry for greenhouses
Sunday, April 5, 2020
The Windsor Star/Lloyd Brown-John
And there are other significant concerns well beyond the off-shore labour matter.
To construct a greenhouse one needs plenty of money and that usually involves investors and credit. In a bean-shell, so-to-speak, unless crops are sold growers and owners could be in serious short-term financial difficulties.
Like any business now facing the COVID-19 virus — hence the threat of full or partial business closure — there are bills to be paid and contractual obligations to be met. The greenhouse industry, always in a precarious relationship with its financiers and markets, is also under direct threat from the virus.
Should an employee in a warehouse or driving a truck or working in the processing area be diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus what would a grower do?
Shutting down a packaging line or closing a warehouse could spell disaster for individual growers and, it follows, consumers.
Remember, our greenhouses while technically called farms are really much more akin to a complex manufacturing process. These are not quaint farms. Our local greenhouse industry is a significant — indeed, massive — producer of food. And, obtaining food, as I’m sure we all have noticed ranks high on the list of things you still reasonably may do whilst isolated in your residential cell.
COVID-19 poses a significant potential disruption to the intricate consumer supply chain.
If we fail to take such things as social distancing and hand-washing seriously, we may face an enormous price both in terms of a massive local industry undermined and our own personal abilities to survive.
Ironically, like our courageous hospital workers and medical support personnel, our greenhouse industry is also in some respects a frontline service provider for our health and well-being.