Quality control at scale still a challenge for Canadian cannabis industry, says prof
'I think a lot of growers need to get back to basic agronomy,' says Bill MacDonald
Scaling up high quality pot production is still challenging for the Canadian industry, accoding to a Niagara College cannabis professor.
Bill MacDonald, coordinator of the commercial cannabis production program, said producers are also having difficulties with pest control and crop management.
"[Cannabis is] a very unique plant, but I think a lot of growers need to get back to basic agronomy and take in the knowledge like we're producing at Niagara College, and just say 'OK, we're going to go in, we're going to actually look at what controls powdery mildew, what controls the cannabis aphid?'" said MacDonald.
Part of the problem, according to MacDonald, is that inexperienced growers — or those who previously only had experience with black market cannabis growing operations — aren't accustomed to producing large quantities of cannabis in line with Health Canada regulations.
"It's a completely new ballgame when you're growing with Health Canada," he said.
MacDonald said any producers looking for cannabis production advice should look to the tomato and vegetable industry, especially in southwestern Ontario.
"There's so much expertise down here in the greenhouse vegetable industry and I'd say it gives people like that an advantage, because they know the logistics, they know labour management … they know environmental controls," he said. "I would give a lot of advantage to a lot of high-tech greenhouses down here, especially in the Leamington area."
Listen to Bill MacDonald talk about cannabis farming with Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette:
MacDonald is set to deliver a talk titled 'What's That Smell?' at the Southwest Agricultural Conference in Ridgetown, Ont. Tuesday.
His talk will touch on the opportunities and challenges facing the cannabis industry.
With files from Windsor Morning