AAFC launches trade, market development programs

(Revised, April 9) — The federal/provincial Growing Forward ag policy framework will fund a new nationwide trade and market development program for Canadian farmers and agrifood exporters.

The program, announced Tuesday, is a collection of five separate initiatives meant to ensure exporters have “the information and support they need to sell more products in more markets,” the federal government said. “It includes a range of initiatives to bring industry success in global and domestic markets.”

Of those five, the government said, a “key component” of the program will be the AgriMarketing program, meant to “sell more of Canada’s safe, high-quality world-class products around the world.” AgriMarketing will be the successor to the previous Canadian Agriculture and Food International (CAFI) program.

For example, the government said, the program would help exporters by ensuring the “Canada Brand” maple leaf is on promotional materials, “raising the profile of the good, healthy food our farmers produce.”

AgriMarketing, the government said, will “leverage the Canada Brand and provide a platform to equip industry, including small and medium enterprises, for success in global markets.”

The initiative would fund Canadian agriculture, agri-food, seafood and fish producer and processor associations to “develop and implement long-term international strategies that develop and deliver international market development and branding strategies, brand building and enhancement initiatives, market innovative products and address industry-to-industry trade advocacy.”

The AgriMarketing program alone is budgeted for $88.51 million from 2009-10 to 2012-13, a spokesperson for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said Thursday.

The other four initiatives in the trade and market development program will include:

  • the Canada Brand, which “builds on differentiation related to Canada’s overall image and food system” in order to better position Canadian products for recognition in international markets.” It will include the federal Agriculture and Food Trade Commissioner Service as well as a Canada Brand element to boost the ag sector in its domestic market.
  • Value Chain Roundtables (VCRTs), for industry and government collaboration on strategies to improve competitiveness and long-term market success, address issues in particular market sectors and serve as a delivery mechanism for the Canada Brand strategy.
  • a Market Information and Export Capacity Building initiative, to support industry in providing market intelligence that will increase sector knowledge and competitiveness, and to maintain existing and enter new foreign markets.
  • the Enabling Research for Competitive Agriculture initiative, for research on Growing Forward’s “priority issues and beyond” that could be used by industry groups and producers to help identify new opportunities, new markets and ways to boost productivity and competitiveness internationally and domestically.

Six provinces have so far signed their agreements with Ottawa for cost-shared Growing Forward funding, with Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and the territories remaining.

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