MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - Nov 22, 2013) - The Canadian organic industry is updating its standards and pursuing new domestic and international markets with a $500 000 investment by the Government of Canada. Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Goguen (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe) made the announcement today on behalf of federal agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz at the 14th Annual Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network Conference and Trade Show.
"Canada's organic producers are constantly striving for the best quality so they can continue to increase their sales at home and abroad," said MP Goguen. "This investment will help the sector improve the certification process so more producers and processors can take advantage of the marketing potential of the organic standard and help increase sales at both home and abroad."
The Organic Federation of Canada is receiving nearly $300 000 to modernize the Canadian Organic Standards and improve processes to encourage small operators to become certified, which will result in a more consistent approach for the organic sector.
More than $200 000 will go to the Canada Organics Trade Association to create a marketing campaign to promote Canadian organics at a national and international level. The strategy is to strengthen relationships with partners across Canada to support the launch of a generic Canada Brand-based campaign profiling organic products.
"The Organic Federation of Canada is privileged to cooperate with our government partners in mobilizing the huge volunteer effort that is needed to ensure that the integrity of the organic food movement is protected," said federation president Ted Zettel. "A solid regulatory environment is key to meeting the changing needs of our consumers and this money will allow the industry to conduct a complete review of the standards that define the organic food claim."
"We're a major exporter of quality organic ingredients and products, but there is also a tremendous consumer base right here in Canada, which is now the world's fourth-largest market for organics," said Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association. "These matching funds from the Government of Canada will assist our members in competing in new and established markets, while linking organic farmers and processors with local Canadian consumers."
The organic sector continues to grow at a steady rate, with demand outstripping supply. Sales of organic foods in Canada are estimated to have tripled since 2006. The Canada Organic Trade Association estimated retail sales in 2012 at $3 billion and exports at $458 billion, with most exports going to the United States and the European Union (EU).
This investment was made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2 that helps farmers and food processors compete in markets at home and abroad. It supports the agriculture industry by creating and maintaining access to markets and taking advantage of market opportunities.
Today's investment follows Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement that Canada and the EU have reached an agreement in principle on a comprehensive trade agreement that will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two partners, and create jobs and opportunities for Canadians. Upon entry into force, Canada will gain unlimited duty-free access to almost 94 per cent of the EU's agricultural tariff lines.