Harper Government Showcases Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov 9, 2012) - The Harper Government is creating more export opportunities and enhancing competitiveness for farmers and livestock producers. Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Simcoe-Grey, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced an investment for two projects in partnership with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF).

"The Harper Government is raising the profile of Canada''s agriculture sector at home and in foreign markets to boost sales in all areas of farming," said Dr. Leitch. "Our government continues to make strategic investments to enhance market development because we know trade, innovation, and competitiveness are key drivers in creating jobs and keeping our economy strong."

A first investment of more than $185,000 made through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) will help the RAWF undertake research into what factors could encourage consumers to increase their consumption of Canadian-grown fruits and vegetables. Results will be shared with industry stakeholders and other partners of the RAWF''s Journey to Your Good Health initiative to improve their marketing activities and increase their competitiveness.

"The Taste and Discover research project will help consumers form more favourable food preparation-related beliefs and habits to increase consumption of vegetables and fruit," said Registered Dietician and RAWF Journey to Your Good Health manager Lois Ferguson. "Our findings will be made available to all fruit and vegetables grower associations and processing organizations to maximize the resulting benefits to the sector."

A second investment of $150,000 through the AgriMarketing Program will enable the RAWF to attract more international buyers in key foreign markets through the promotion of the event and its display of high-quality Canadian agriculture and agri-food products. Canadian farmers will also benefit from the on-site International Business Centre, a top business destination for the agriculture and livestock genetics industry, providing trade information and business services.

"We are pleased that the Government of Canada recognizes the contribution the Royal brings to the agricultural community in Canada," says Sandra G. Banks, Chief Executive Officer for the RAWF. "With its support, the Royal''s efforts to promote Canadian agriculture at home and around the world are significantly enhanced."

Now entering its 90th year, the Fair has a long history of attracting domestic and international participation by showcasing Canadian agriculture. The Fair draws more than 300,000 visitors annually and last year alone welcomed some 1200 international visitors and buyers from 56 countries. The many shows, activities, and breeding auctions generated $2.6 million overall for Canadian livestock producers in 2011.

Through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward, the Harper Government is investing $88 million to help industry implement long-term international strategies, including international market development, industry-to-industry trade advocacy, and consumer awareness and branding activities. The Harper Government has identified market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2, and this announcement is another example of what is being done to enhance competitiveness and drive innovation and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.

The investment to the Journey to Your Good Health initiative is provided through CAAP, a five-year (2009-14), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. In Ontario, the regional component of CAAP is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

To find out more about the AgriMarketing Program, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/agrimarketing.

For more information on CAAP, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/caap.

Contact:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972
Jeff English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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