Organic sector receives government support

The Canadian organic industry is getting $500,000 in government funds to update its standards and pursue new domestic and international markets.

“Canada’s organic producers are constantly striving for the best quality so they can continue to increase their sales at home and abroad,” said Robert Goguen, the MP for Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “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 co-operate 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 in a release. “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).

The funds came from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.

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