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Government is Helping Farmers, Says Report

by 5m Editor
27 October 2011, at 8:51am

CANADA - The Harper Government is helping farmers to access more markets and a better bottom line, according to a new report. Beef, pork, canola, wheat, pulses and animal genetics were singled out as particular successes.

The Harper Government is creating new trade opportunities for the benefit of farmers, says a recent analysis of the work by the Federal Market Access Team. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz released the report on 24 October and highlighted that among other positive results, Canadian beef exports to Russia have more than tripled in value since increased beef access was gained in recent years.

At the Annual Market Access Meeting, Minister Ritz said: "This market access report shows clearly that the Harper Government is growing more trade opportunities for our producers, strengthening their bottom line. By reopening, maintaining and expanding international markets, we are making sure that Canadian farmers can make their living from the marketplace and continue to drive our economy."

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, added: "Our ambitious pro-trade plan includes improving market access in the agriculture and agri-food sector. We are creating opportunities for Canadian farmers and their families by deepening and strengthening Canada's trading relationships in priority markets, opposing trade-restrictive measures and defending Canadian interests."

The report highlights accomplishments between January 2010 and March 2011 in 10 key markets for commodities including beef, pork, canola, wheat, pulses and animal genetics. It shows that by collaborating and coordinating market-access efforts and activities, the federal government, provinces, territories and industry have succeeded in reopening, maintaining and expanding markets for many Canadian agricultural and food products.

Canadian beef exports to Russia more than tripled (328 per cent) by value and surpassed C$23 million ($23.8M) in 2010 after increased beef access was gained in 2009 and confirmed in 2010. Canada has also secured a more stable trading environment with China after negotiating transitional measures for canola seed exports, which enabled farmers to maintain exports of canola (seed, oil and meal) to China in excess of $1.8 billion in both 2009 and 2010.

In 2009, Minister Ritz created the Market Access Secretariat (MAS) to coordinate government initiatives with industry to pursue new and existing markets for the agriculture sector. The MAS is closely working with the Federal Market Access Team which gather resources from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, supported by a Senior Market Access Coordinating Committee.

The federal government, provinces and territories work with the industry to discuss market access progress and priorities for agricultural trade. The Canadian agriculture and processed food sector is a key driver of Canada's economy and growth. The potential for growth of the sector lies mainly in Canada's ability to expand its markets abroad.

Canada is the world's fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products with annual exports worth over $35 billion. Canada's trade in agriculture and food products contributed more than $11 billion to our trade surplus.

The report is available on AAFC web site [click here].