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Ottawa Backs Push To Increase Exports Of Organic Foods

STAFF / The federal government is spending $195,000 to promote Canadian organic products abroad.

The money will go to the Canada Organic Trade Association to enhance the industry s competitiveness in global markets, said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

Canada s organic farmers produce some of the world s most wholesome and healthy food, and are a global player in this dynamic and growing market, said Ritz. Our government s investment will help the Canada Organic Trade Association increase access to international markets, which will put more money in their pockets in the future.

The funding will be used to build brand awareness within established target markets, participate in international trade shows, and identify new exporters and export opportunities.

Members of the Canadian organic sector have seen real and immediate results from our export strategy, including improved market access, increased sales, and a better network of business connections, said Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association.

The Canadian organic market has grown from $2 billion in 2008 to over $2.6 billion in 2010, and the value of exports of organic food products reached $390 million in 2010.

Market access efforts working: Ritz

Canadian beef exports to Russia have more than tripled in value since increased beef access was gained in recent years, says a report by a federal market access team.

This market access report shows clearly that the Harper government is growing more trade opportunities for our producers, strengthening their bottom line, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release. By reopening, maintaining and expanding international markets, we are making sure that Canadian farmers can make their living from the marketplace and continue to drive our economy.

The report highlights accomplishments between January 2010 and March 2011 in 10 key markets for commodities including beef, pork, canola, wheat, pulses and animal genetics.

Canadian beef exports to Russia rose 328 per cent by value and reached $23.8 million in 2010 after increased beef access was gained in 2009 and confirmed in 2010. Canada has also secured a more stable trading environment with China after negotiating transitional measures for canola seed exports, which enabled farmers to maintain exports of canola (seed, oil and meal) to China in excess of $1.8 billion in both 2009 and 2010.

In 2009, Minister Ritz created the Market Access Secretariat (MAS) to co-ordinate government initiatives with industry to pursue new and existing markets for the agriculture sector. The MAS is closely working with the Federal Market Access Team, which gathers resources from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affaires and International Trade, supported by a Senior Market Access Co-ordinating Committee.

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