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Boosting organics marketing in B.C.


February 2, 2010
By Dave Harrison

Feb. 2, 2010, Abbotsford, B.C. — The
federal government is investing in British Columbia’s organics industry so that
farmers can take advantage of new research and growing market opportunities.



Feb. 2, 2010, Abbotsford, B.C. — The
federal government is investing in British Columbia’s organics industry so that
farmers can take advantage of new research and growing market opportunities.

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MP Ed Fast (Abbotsford) announced an
investment of up to $900,000 to help the Certified Organic Associations of B.C.
(COABC) implement a new and comprehensive market development strategy for the
organics industry. 

“Our Government knows that farmers
are key to Canada’s economy, especially as it begins to show signs of
recovery,” said Fast, speaking on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
“Organic agriculture gives farmers new market opportunities that will boost
their bottom line. This investment will help build a road map to keep organic farmers
on the cutting edge of innovation, improve industry best practices, and make
sure farmers can respond to increasing consumer demands for top quality
organically grown food.”

The Organic Sector Development
Program Strategic Initiative will support five goals:

• Increasing sector capacity.

• Building confidence in certified
organic systems and products.

• Promoting environmental
stewardship.

• Advancing organic research and
innovation.

• Strengthening organics
infrastructure.

This will involve, for example,
creating a resource directory for growers, developing research proposals,
designing an environmental assessment instrument to be used in the
certification process, and educational materials and workshops to encourage
farmers to transition to organics.

“This funding will allow us to
continue to develop and support organic agriculture in British Columbia,” said
Brad Reid, president of COABC. “From field to plate, these funds will aid with
organic research and innovation, increase the capacity of the organic sector,
and ensure continued confidence in B.C. certified organic products. We are
grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Investment Agriculture
Foundation of British Columbia (IAF) for this opportunity.”

Created in 1993, the COABC is an
umbrella association providing certification accreditation and leadership in
the development of organic food production throughout the province and Canada.
It administers the B.C. Certified Organic Program and ensures its credibility,
facilitates domestic and international trade, and promotes the overall growth
of the organic food community in BC through education, advocacy and
research. 

“Here in B.C., there is growing
consumer demand for organic products and our organics sector is working hard to
meet the challenges that such growth brings,” said Stuart Wilson, IAF chair,
who also noted that an Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by IAF in 2008 found
two-thirds of British Columbians willing to pay at least a little more for
certified organic food. “With this funding, organic producers will be better
positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.”

In addition to delivering Canada’s
Economic Action Plan, which focuses on strengthening the economy and securing
Canada’s economic future, the federal government has put into place many other
programs that help farmers and stimulate the economy such as the Canadian
Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). Funding for this project was provided
by the federal CAAP initiative. It is a five-year (2009-2014), $163 million
federal initiative that aims to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain
competitive. Eligible projects could be in the areas of traceability,
environment, climate change, capacity development, pests and diseases, and
more.

For more information on CAAP, visit www.agr.gc.ca/caap.
In British Columbia, CAAP is delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation
of British Columbia. To learn more about the IAF, visit www.iafbc.com.


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