|Feds announce new ag program|
|Local Content - Local Agriculture|
|Written by Trevor Busch|
|Wednesday, 26 September 2012 18:16|
Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Agriculture reached an agreement last week on the new Growing Forward II policy framework for the agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sector.
The new five-year agreement includes investments in strategic initiatives of over $3 billion for innovation, competitiveness and market development, including a 50 per cent increase in government’s cost-shared initiatives.
“I think there’s some really positive stuff,” said Medicine Hat MP LaVar Payne. “The minister has met with all of the ag ministers across the country, from all of the provinces and territories, and they’re all in agreement on the process forward, and there’s a lot of negotiation going on.”
In addition, under the Growing Forward II
initiative, governments will continue to deliver a complete and effective suite of Business Risk Management (BRM) programs to ensure farmers
are protected against severe market volatility and disasters.
Following consultations with industry, governments committed to increase their focus on innovation, competitiveness and market development. As the global population rises and the demand for consistency in supply of high quality food increases, the agreement is intended to help farmers, producers and processors be positioned to capitalize on emerging market opportunities.
“I’m delighted to see that we’re going to put some more money into research,” said Payne. “Particularly, the research is going to be much more pointed, and driven forward into actual commercialization. I think that is a real key, because if we’re going to be an exporting nation for agriculture, we need to be at the forefront, we need to be able to have the best products out there, and the newest products, to market worldwide.”
Other highlights of the agreement include increased opportunity for provinces and territories to invest in environmental initiatives and on-farm water infrastructure, improved negative margin coverage and lower program fees for AgriStability, substantially increasing farmers’ ability to contribute greater funds into their AgriInvest accounts to better manage risk, and encouraging the development of private sector risk management tools as well as monitoring and reviewing BRM programming over the term of the framework.
Payne welcomed the inclusion of greater flexibility for provinces and territories to better tailor programs to local needs.
“I think that’s quite beneficial to the provinces, because they will have initiatives they will need to deal with, and I think providing that certainly makes it easier for them.”
During negotiations, Ministers also reviewed the status of federal trade negotiations and access initiatives in key export markets, including South Korea, Europe, Japan and China, pledging to continue an aggressive trade agenda to open new markets and create further opportunities.
In coming weeks and months, it is expected federal, provincial and territorial governments will be completing bilateral agreements so programs will be in place by April 1, 2013, when the current framework expires.
For more information on Growing Forward II visit www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward.