Every bit helps, Alberta Pork Chair Frank Novak said after learning that the federal government will provide more money to help Canadian producers market their pork – at home and abroad.
Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz paid a surprise visit to the Banff Pork Seminar on the morning of Jan. 23, stopping in long enough to announce that the federal government will provide $15 million to assist Canadian Pork International in its effort to improve export markets.
“Our government has been there for the Canadian pork industry and we will continue to be,” said Ritz.
“The Canadian pork sector’s ability to adapt to changing trade environments while still providing high-quality pork at competitive pricing makes it well positioned to compete in both established and emerging markets.”
The money is to be used over a period of five years and cost shared to support CPI’s domestic and international marketing strategies, including organizing activities in priority markets, investigating market opportunities, undertaking missions to target markets and posting income emissions from those markets, he said.
CPI chair Edouard Asnong said domestic and foreign buyers need to recognize Canada as a reliable supplier of high-quality pork products.
“We need to be fully recognized at home and abroad as a reliable supplier of high-quality pork products,” said Asnong.
Novak said export markets are critical, with Canada currently exporting more than 60 per cent of the pork it produces and making it very important to have financing in place to continue developing those markets.
“Every penny in support that can go toward helping us be successful is very much appreciated and very valuable.”
Novak said the funding support for marketing initiatives should not come at the expense of funding for other issues, including costs of containing and controlling disease.
“I’m not sure that it’s really an ‘either or’ kind of a conversation,” he said.
“It’s money for initiatives that are very critical for the industry for the long term. PED, obviously, is critical both short and long term. I don’t know that it would be fair to say that we need to trade off one for the other. I think (PED) is a separate conversation.” •
— By Brenda Kossowan