Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 23, 2012 12:28 ET

Harper Government Helps Foster New Markets for Canada's Organic Sector

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 23, 2012) - The Harper Government is helping Canadian organic farmers and producers deliver the highest-quality organic food to consumers at home and abroad. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today two investments that will enhance Canada's organic food industry's competitiveness in global and domestic markets.

"Canada's organic sector is innovative, fast-growing, and producing some of the world's best organic food," said Minister Ritz. "These investments will help organic farmers get more of their high-quality products to consumers abroad and to their own neighbours, while putting more money in their pockets."

The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) will receive $180,000 from the AgriMarketing Program to help the Association 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.

"This investment by the Government of Canada has allowed the Canadian organic sector to position itself as an innovative leader in global organic markets," said Matthew Holmes, COTA Executive Director. "The AgriMarketing Program support has been essential in providing these small and medium-sized businesses with the means to grow and expand in critical global markets and realize their potential in the fast-paced organic market."

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) will receive $152,000 from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) to develop innovative tools and technologies that will enable producers to strengthen their relationships with existing customers, attract new investments, and gather business intelligence that will benefit the sector as a whole. These innovations include new co-op models, community-shared agriculture projects, and online webinars to improve the organic sector's social and economic sustainability.

"The OCO is pleased to help the local and organic food and farm sector strengthen the economy, our rural ecologies, and family farms," says OCO Industry Chair Matt LeBeau. "Working with the broader agricultural leadership to identify strategies to meet the growing demand for organics is a win-win for Ontario's agricultural sector."

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. Since then the organic market has continued to grow, reaching more than $2.6 billion in 2010. Specifically, exports of agri-food products reached $390 million in 2010.

Through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward, the Harper Government is investing $88 million to help industry implement long-term international strategies, including international market development, industry-to-industry trade advocacy, and consumer awareness and branding activities. The Harper Government has identified market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2, and this announcement is another example of what is being done to enhance competitiveness and drive innovation and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.

The investment for the Organic Council of Ontario is provided through CAAP, a five-year (2009-14), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Ontario, the regional component of CAAP is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

To find out more about the AgriMarketing Program, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/agrimarketing. For more information on CAAP, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/caap.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972

    Jeff English
    Press Secretary
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    613-773-1059