Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

March 30, 2012 11:19 ET

Harper Government Focuses on Innovation, Marketplace and Long-term Prosperity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 30, 2012) - Canada's Economic Action Plan 2012 demonstrates the Government's commitment to the future prosperity of farmers and the safety of Canadian food.

"Our Government was elected on a promise to focus on the economy and create jobs and growth in the agricultural industry," said Minister Ritz. "That's why our Government is squarely focused on innovation, market access and improving service to Canadians."

Western Canadian farmers will have the freedom to market their own wheat and barley on the open market beginning August 1, 2012 and Budget 2012 reiterates the Government's commitment to a smooth transition for farmers, which includes a viable, voluntary Canadian Wheat Board. To continue the modernization of the grain sector, $44 million will help the Canadian Grain Commission realign its fees with its services.

Research and innovation continue to be a priority for the Harper Government. Budget 2012 allows AAFC to build on its record investments in agricultural innovation. By further expanding partnerships, developing more national capacity and expertise, and leveraging greater private sector investment, our Government will be able to better support farmers and the agricultural sector.

"Time and time again we have demonstrated that food safety is a priority for this Government," added Minister Ritz. "Our Government's Budget, once again, reaffirms our strong commitment to consumers and the food industry."

To strengthen Canada's food safety system, Budget 2012 will provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency $51.2 million, to be shared with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, to continue enhanced surveillance, early detection and improved response capabilities to foodborne illness emergencies.

Working with industry, AAFC will continue to create new opportunities for farmers and processors to earn their living from the marketplace by opening, re-opening, and expanding export markets around the world. The Harper Government will undertake the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history, strengthening trade with the United States, the European Union, Japan, India, China and many more.

"Bigger government doesn't mean better service," noted Minister Ritz. "Just as farm families adapt their household budgets and business practices to suit ever-changing weather or market conditions, so too is the Government adjusting to meet the evolving needs of the agricultural industry, and make it easier for producers and processors to do business."

Across the Portfolio actions are underway to reduce paper work and red tape, implementing marketing freedom and adjusting our practices to make it easier for farmers and processors to do business. For example, AAFC will consolidate the delivery of grants and contributions programs. Delivering all grants and contributions programs out of one branch will allow AAFC to offer better service to farmers and industry with less paperwork at a lower cost.

Programs and services under Growing Forward continue. The federal government will work with provincial and territorial governments to develop the next policy framework and suite of programs, building on what's working well and positioning the sector for long-term prosperity.

With more than $35 billion in exports, Canada is the world's fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and food products. In 2009, the agriculture and agri-food sector accounted for approximately 2 million jobs and 8 per cent of total GDP. The agriculture sector was one of the most resilient through the economic downturn and the outlook for agricultural commodity prices and farm income is strong.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz