With record high farm incomes and a positive economic outlook for the Canadian agriculture industry as a backdrop, Agriculture Ministers met and launched the final stage of negotiations of the next agriculture policy framework for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
Ministers agreed that the new framework will focus on investments in innovation, competitiveness, market opportunities, adaptability and sustainability. Ministers aim to sign the agreement at their next annual meeting in September and to have the new framework in place by April 2013.
"Just as farmers constantly adjust their farm practices to suit changing market or weather conditions, so too must governments review and adapt programs so they continue to support the evolving needs of the agriculture industry," said federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "By focusing on innovation, market development and the long-term prosperity of the farm gate, federal, provincial and territorial governments will be able to help farmers capitalize on new innovations, emerging market opportunities, and increasing global demand for safe, high quality food."
Ministers called for stronger government-industry partnership to foster a culture of innovation and to ensure investments and priorities are aligned with the needs of the sector. Ministers also discussed the need to continue to engage the entire value chain including the food processing industry.
FPT governments will continue to work closely with industry to create new market opportunities through science, market access, and food safety. Governments will strengthen their efforts to create and maximize opportunities for Canadian farmers, producers and processors to sell their safe, quality products to consumers here at home and around the world. Ministers also reiterated their support for advancing Canada's trade interests in free trade negotiations to benefit Canada's agricultural and agri-food sector, while maintaining support for Canada's supply management system.
"I am pleased that all jurisdictions are united in our resolve to ensure the policies and programs outlined in the successor framework agreement will support the evolving needs of the industry," said meeting co-chair Brad Cathers, Yukon Minister for Energy, Mines and Resources. "Together we are building a solid foundation to help producers and processors remain competitive and successful, now and well into the future."
The next annual meeting will be held September 12-14, 2012, in Whitehorse, Yukon.