Innovation and market access remain the most important tools to driving growth and prosperity for farmers and producers in Canada. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz addressed the grain industry at Grow Canada Conference 2011 to emphasize the Harper Government's commitment to helping the Canadian agriculture industry remains competitive in the global market.
"Our Government’s top priority remains the economy, and Canadian agriculture plays a major role in help keeping our economy strong" said Minister Ritz. "Investing in the long-term growth and competitiveness of Canada's agricultural industry will allow us to maintain and build access to key markets while boosting our farmers’ bottom lines."
Boosting innovative new products, technologies and processes
In his remarks, Minister Ritz reiterated that the recent investment of $50 million for the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) will boost the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes in the agricultural sector. He also spoke about how market access and development are a priority and will promote growth, help the agricultural value-chain not only adapt but thrive in the face of major change.
Minister Ritz restated the Harper Government’s commitment to returning to Western grain farmers the right to market their wheat and barley in the best interest of their farm businesses. The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act was passed by Members of Parliament last night.
"Marketing freedom will unleash the true economic potential of the Western grain industry through value-added investments and increased innovation." said Minister Ritz. "With our legislation being passed by the House of Commons, Western Canadian farmers are an important step closer to finally having the same economic opportunities enjoyed by their colleagues in Ontario and other parts of Canada."
Canada is the world’s fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products with annual exports worth over $35 billion. Canada’s trade in agriculture and food products contributes more than $11 billion to the trade surplus.