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Atlantic ag ministers agree to regional cooperation


January 28, 2009
By Government of P.E.I.

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January 28, 2009, Charlottetown, P.E.I. – Ministers of agriculture from
the four Atlantic provinces have signed a Memorandum of Understanding
to cooperate on the development of the agriculture and agri-food sector
in the region.

January 28, 2009, Charlottetown, P.E.I. – Ministers of agriculture from the four Atlantic provinces have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the development of the agriculture and agri-food sector in the region.

Under the agreement, the ministers agreed to increase areas of cooperation, share information and expertise and partner on mutually beneficial initiatives. They also agreed to collaborate to address the regional impacts of federal policies and programs.

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The ministers noted that the agriculture and agri-food industry is a significant part of the economy of the Atlantic region. There are approximately 8,800 farms that employ more than 15,000 people. Total annual farm cash receipts are approximately $1.4 billion and the total value of farm capital is more than $5.6 billion. Exports of agri-food products from the region to international markets are in excess of $912 million.

Under the MOU, the ministers agreed to work toward harmonized regulatory and policy initiatives in areas such as food safety and quality, traceability, environmental stewardship, research and statistics, extension services, animal health and beneficial management practices.

The ministers also noted that, with a regional population of 2.2 million people and with 100 million consumers in central Canada and the northeast United States, there are major market opportunities for agriculture and food products produced in Atlantic Canada.

The MOU formalizes the cooperative efforts already underway.

The ministers instructed their officials to develop a work plan to assess progress on an ongoing basis and identify new opportunities for collaboration.