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Canadian Organic Growers receive funding support to promote organic goods

September 15, 2020  By Fruit and Vegetable

The Canadian federal government will allocate more than $640,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program to the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) to help get more Canadian consumers buying Canadian-made organics produced locally by Canadian organic farmers.

The announcement was made by William Amos, Member of Parliament for Pontiac on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, at Chelsea Market, during Canada’s National Organic Week, an annual event to showcase and celebrate organic food farming and products across the country.

The demand for organic foods in Canada continues to rise, and there are many organic food producers across the country. Approximately 5,800 certified organic and transitional producers are working on 3.3 million acres of land in Canada. The acreage growing organic fruits and vegetables has increased by 15.4 per cent since 2016, and Quebec accounts for the largest share of certified organic fruit and vegetable production in Canada.

However, much of the Canadian demand for organics is met by imported products. In 2019, imports of organic goods were valued at $789 million. The top imported organic products include coffee, bananas, and strawberries. Other imported organic products also include blueberries, spinach and tomatoes.

“Demand for organic food is growing rapidly and we want to ensure that it is Canadian producers who are benefitting from that increased demand. Our government is focused on ensuring Canadians have greater self-sufficiency and sustainability in our food supply system, and this investment in the organic sector strategy will help us get there,” said Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau in a released statement.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, 13 per cent more Canadians are buying local food more often and almost three-quarters are deliberately buying Canadian.

With the funding, COG will develop a strategy to identify and find solutions to organic supply chain barriers so that Canadian organic producers can realize their full economic potential and more Canadian consumers can buy locally produced Canadian organic food.

Strategy recommendations will be assessed and evaluated by an independent industry-wide national advisory committee and a final report will be published that will explore investment opportunities to meet domestic demands and recommendations on how to best seize the opportunities. The report will also help quantify the economic and environmental benefits of increasing domestic organic production and supply chains.

“Gaining an understanding of the barriers that exist between organic farmers and consumers will help the organic industry meet the growing demand for organic food in Canada and abroad, and play a prominent role in Canada’s economic recovery. This project will also help Canada advance action on climate change through its support for sustainable agriculture practices and the Canadian farmers on the front lines of the climate crisis,” said Gillian Flies, president of the Canadian Organic Growers board of directors.

The funding is made through the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program (CASPP), which is a $50.3 million, five-year investment to help the agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

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