The Government of Canada is helping Canadian organic farmers and food processors deliver the highest quality organic food to consumers at home and abroad.
Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced the investment of $170,000 for the organic sector, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today at the the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) conference and trade show in Charlottetown.
"Our Government is always looking for new opportunities for Canadian farmers and processors," said Minister Shea. "We want to give Canadian farmers and processors a competitive edge in the organic sector and help them meet consumer demands at home and abroad by providing organic products of the highest standards."
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) in Canada will receive more than $118,000 from the Government of Canada's AgriMarketing program to stay ahead of international market trends by participating in international trade shows, developing promotional materials, and building a long-term international strategy for the organic sector.
"We are excited about what this federal funding means in terms of building new markets for Canadian organic products," said Matthew Holmes, OTA in Canada's managing director. "The global organic market is expanding rapidly and this support will allow Canada to establish itself as a supplier of quality organic products."
The Canadian Organic Growers Association (COG) will receive almost $50,000 from the Government of Canada's Integrated Food Safety Initiative to develop a strategy for determining how current on-farm food safety systems can best meet the specific needs of organic agriculture. Five organic commodities will be chosen for this project in consultation with organic farmers across the country.
"The Canadian Organic Growers Association is very pleased with the Government of Canada's investment in organic agriculture", said Laura Telford, COG's Executive Director. "This funding will go a long way to enable the organic sector to begin a dialogue with national agricultural commodity groups to customize On-Farm Food Safety Programs to meet the specialized needs of organic farmers."
Both contributions are funded under the Government of Canada's Growing Forward framework. In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan continues to support agriculture as a core economic driver in this country. By creating jobs and working to develop high quality standards at home and abroad, farmers and food processors play an important role in the economic stability of Canadian communities.
The Canadian organic retail market was valued at close to $2 billion in 2008, representing a 66 per cent growth from the $1.2 billion organic retail value in 2006.