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Canada invests in organic farming sector

The Canadian government is helping organic farmers and food processors in the country. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced an investment of $170,000 for the organic sector, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, at the Atlantic Canadian Organic Regional Network (ACORN) conference and trade show in Charlottetown.

"Our government is always looking for new opportunities for Canadian farmers and processors," said Shea. "We want to give Canadian farmers and processors a competitive edge in the organic sector and help them meet consumer demands at home and abroad by providing organic products of the highest standards."

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) in Canada will receive more than $118,000 from the government's AgriMarketing program to 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.

"We are excited about what this federal funding means in terms of building new markets for Canadian organic products," said Matthew Holmes, OTA in Canada's MD. "The global organic market is expanding rapidly and this support will allow Canada to establish itself as a supplier of quality organic products."

The Canadian Organic Growers Association (COG) will receive almost $50,000 from the government's Integrated Food Safety Initiative to develop a strategy for determining how current on-farm food safety systems can best meet the specific needs of organic agriculture. Five organic commodities will be chosen for this project in consultation with organic farmers across the country.

"This funding will go a long way to enable the organic sector to begin a dialogue with national agricultural commodity groups to customize On-Farm Food Safety Programs to meet the specialised needs of organic farmers," said Laura Telford, COG's Executive Director.

The Canadian organic retail market was valued at close to $2 bln in 2008, representing a 66% growth from the $1.2 bln organic retail value in 2006.

Natalie Berkhout

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