The federal government will continue to work for an improved export transportation system, federal Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz pledged during opening remarks made to the 23rd annual Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) meeting in Winnipeg.
“All too often top-quality Canadian products hit snags in our Canadian transportation system before we can get them to market,” said Ritz, who was also here to announce $50 million in funding under the federal-provincial Growing Forward program.
Ritz said federal investment in container port infrastructure will continue, describing the role of his department as “a facilitator” towards improving the transportation system as a whole.
He had high praise for special crop production in Canada, calling it a “Canadian success story” on several fronts, from expanding production while reducing inputs to its impressive reach into markets of 150 countries.
He promised to continue to help open or resuscitate more markets for Canadian special crops.
CSCA president Murad Al-Katib said later in an interview that the CSCA is encouraged by recent federal investments at sites such as the ports of Prince Rupert, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver and the establishment of regional container terminals throughout Western Canada.
“We’re seeing progress,” said Al-Katib. “But there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.” [email protected]