Fruits and Vegetables Survey

Detailed information for Spring 2008




2 times per year

Record number:


This survey collects data to provide estimates of the total cultivated area, harvested area, total production, marketed production and farm gate value of selected fruits and vegetables grown in Canada.

Data release - June 20, 2008


This survey collects data to provide estimates of the total cultivated area, harvested area, total production, marketed production and farm gate value of selected fruits and vegetables grown in Canada. The data are used by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, other federal departments, provincial organizations and related industries for production and price analysis, and for development of agricultural policies and programs.

Reference period: Spring survey, May to June and Fall survey, May to October

Collection period: Spring survey from April to May - Fall survey from November to December


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Crops and horticulture

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all farms in the ten provinces of Canada that grow fruit and/or vegetables for sale. The Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are excluded from the survey.

The survey frame excludes farms producing only mushrooms, farms producing only greenhouse vegetables, and farms producing only potatoes, as well as farms that are on Indian reserves, community pastures and Hutterite colonies. Small operations with less than one acre of fruit and less than one acre of vegetables are also excluded.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was developed by subject matter specialists through consultation with the provinces and industry experts. New questions are not pre-tested in the field. However, testing is conducted in-house for flow and consistency. Questions will be changed, added or removed as the need arises. Required changes are usually identified through such means as subject matter specialist research, changes in market trends and field staff debriefing reports.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

For each province, three strata were defined based on the type of operation i.e. fruit only operation, vegetable only operation or fruit and vegetable operation. In each stratum, a threshold based on the total fruit acreage and on the total vegetable acreage was defined. A random sample was selected among the operations below the threshold with a target CV of 0.01 (1%) for total fruit area and total vegetable area at the provincial level. A census of all operations above the threshold was taken as well. Thresholds went from 2 to 10 acres depending on the province. For each stratum, the specified minimum sample size was 10 and the maximum design weight of every selected farm was two. If the number of farms within a stratum is below 10, all farms in that stratum are sampled.

The final sample size for this survey was 12,804 operations.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The data are collected by telephone interview in Statistics Canada regional offices, using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) application.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

There are edits built into the data capture application to compare the entered yield and price data against provincial averages, as well as to check for possible inconsistencies. Whenever an edit fails, the interviewers are prompted to correct the information (with the help of the respondents when necessary). For most edit failures the interviewers have the ability to override the edit failure if they cannot resolve the apparent discrepancy.

Once the data are received back at head office an extensive series of processing steps are undertaken to thoroughly verify each record received. All data failing these edits are subject to manual inspection and possible corrective action.


For the Fall Survey of Fruit and Vegetables, imputation is used to adjust for incomplete survey answers to the questions of production and farm gate value. The imputation uses a trend analysis of the completed questionnaires to generate averages to be used to impute for the missing values. Data from previous years is available for manual imputation. We also use imputation for farms which reported no fruit area and less than 2 acres of vegetable area in the Spring. In the Fall, we sample those farms, but we do not survey them. We use their spring data to impute them. This year, we have 1,300 farms in this category out of the 12,804 sampled.


Estimation on the value of fruit and vegetables produced each year is computed through surveys across regions and Canada.

The survey data collected are weighted within each stratum in order to produce an estimate which is representative of the population. Weighted historical information is used to take into account small farms being excluded from sampling. Analysis of the most significant contributors and historical comparisons are made, and estimates are reviewed by a panel of provincial department of agriculture consultants.

Quality evaluation

Disseminated data are subject to a certain degree of error such as incorrect information from respondents or mistakes introduced during processing. Reasonable efforts are made to ensure such errors are kept within acceptable limits through careful questionnaire design, editing of data for inconsistencies and subsequent follow-up and quality control of manual processing operations. Extensive consultation with provincial agricultural experts combined with data from various marketing boards assists in the verification of the level estimates obtained through the survey.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

Sampling error can be measured by the standard error (or standard deviation) of the estimate. The coefficient of variation (CV) is the estimated standard error percentage of the survey estimate. Estimates with smaller CVs are more reliable than estimates with larger CVs.

For the 2008 survey, CV's at the Canada level range from 2.5% to 23.9%. We obtained CV's around 11.2% at the province level. Less commonly reported variables are associated with higher, but still acceptable CV's, usually under 20%. Coefficient of variation values for the published data are available upon request.

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