The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are supporting B.C. agrifoods producers to export to international marketplaces through a new program under the Growing Forward 2 agreement. The $4.3 million B.C. Agrifoods Export Program provides matching funds to support industry participation at international tradeshows, promotional events, incoming and outgoing trade missions, and to develop marketing materials for international audiences.
"By investing in this program, the Government of Canada is helping to create a stronger agriculture industry and Canadian economy," said the Honourable Kerry Lynne Findlay, on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "These investments will assist B.C. agrifood producers and processors to take full advantage of new opportunities that the government is creating through the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union and other agreements."
"There is always going to be demand for high-quality and trusted food, and B.C. products have that reputation locally and overseas," said Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services, on behalf of B.C. Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm. "With this investment, the B.C. government is helping local food producers to expand and succeed in new markets, and that means more sales for B.C. farmers and more jobs in BC's agrifoods sector."
The program aims to build on the $2.5 billion of agrifood products B.C. exports to more than 130 countries annually by supporting B.C. producers, businesses and associations to promote their products to international buyers. Applications for the new program are available at: www.iafbc.ca/export-market-dev.htm
"It is always good news when resources are made available to help grow industry activities," Dave Eto, Chair of the BC Food Processors Association said. "We have a huge diversity of innovative local products that need to find international markets. This program should help our industry to access these markets, grow our economy and create additional jobs for British Columbians."
"Seafood accounts for almost $1 billion of the $2.5 billion in agrifood exports so we are pleased that British Columbia and Canada will work with our exporters to increase that value," said BC Seafood Alliance Executive Director Christina Burridge.
"B.C. blueberries are the number one fruit export from B.C. and this new export program will be beneficial to our growers and enable competitive and sustainable access in the target markets in China, Japan, India, southwest Asia and the EU," said BC Blueberry Council Executive Director Debbie Etsell.
Other Growing Forward 2 efforts to support B.C.'s agriculture, food and seafood sectors to develop and expand their export markets over the next five years include:
- Support for the promotion of B.C. food products at key international trade shows. B.C. producers will have the opportunity to participate in a B.C.-branded booth and have their products and marketing material distributed at the shows.
- Hosting of export market readiness seminars to help B.C.'s agriculture, food and seafood sectors understand emerging opportunities in key export markets. The seminars will be held by April 2014 and provide information to enhance industry's understanding of market opportunities and development of successful international marketing strategies.
These initiatives support B.C. food producers throughout the export cycle, from market research and preparation, to the development of trade show materials, and access to new customers through trade missions and shows.
The Growing Forward 2 agreement (2013-2018) is a $3 billion investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development, which includes $2 billion cost-shared on a 60:40 basis for programs delivered by provinces and territories (a 50 per cent increase in cost-shared funding), as well as $1 billion for federal-only strategic initiatives.
For more information on provincial Growing Forward 2 programs, visit: www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apf/GF2/GF2.html
For more information on Growing Forward 2, visit: www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward2
Government Communications and Public Engagement
BC Ministry of Agriculture
250 889-5945 (cell)
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
1 866 345-7972
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz