CPMA welcomes agri-food investment in federal budget

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association welcomed Canada's recent federal budget and said it is ready to work with the federal government to improve the economy and the health of Canadians.

CPMA supports the government’s commitment to skills and innovation as a catalyst for Canadian prosperity. In particular, CPMA said it is pleased to see the creation of the new $1.26-billon Strategic Innovation Fund that will help attract and support high-quality business investments in several high-growth sectors, including agri-food, which has been identified as one of six key areas to be included in the government’s new Skills & Innovation Plan.

The association said Budget 2017 highlights many areas of investment in science and technology that will benefit Canadians and the agri-food sector, including the following: $70 million over six years to support agricultural discovery, science and innovation; funding for expanded adoption of clean technology by agricultural producers; $80 million to replace the Sidney Centre for Plant Health; and $149.3 million over five years to renew core food-safety inspection programming delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

CPMA said it is also pleased to see the federal government remains committed to expanding trade opportunities with new and emerging markets, including China, and finalizing a new Canada Free Trade Agreement with the provinces and territories.

“A dynamic Canadian produce industry will ensure our exporters have access to world markets and that Canadian consumers are provided with the best quality produce at the best possible value,” Ron Lemaire, CPMA president, said in a press release.

CPMA will continue to push the Canadian government for payment protection for Canada’s fresh fruit and vegetable industry, as well as the re-establishment of Canada’s preferential access to protections under the U.S. Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, which was lost in October 2014. CPMA is hopeful that additional funding to the Treasury Board Secretariat to help align Canadian policies with international regulations will lead to such a reinstatement.

The association also urges the federal government to create a health policy statement that supports the goal of increasing the fruit and vegetable consumption of Canadians by 20 percent within five years. Such an increase would be the equivalent of one additional serving a day for all Canadians and would help reduce Canadians’ risk of chronic disease and excess weight.

“Canada is the only G7 country without some form of national fruit and vegetable health policy,” Lemaire said. “We want to work with the government to increase produce consumption to improve the health of all Canadians.”

CPMA continues to engage with the federal government on these and other issues, and members can expect to see more information in the coming months.

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