At the Canadian Meat Council’s 90th Annual Conference the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) made a multi-million dollar announcement.
Gerry Ritz, Agriculture minister, took the opportunity during his keynote address at the conference in Victoria to tell the industry that the feds are investing $6 million toward a beef research cluster and $75 million toward meat processors.
For meat processors, the investment is to help them upgrade their plants, handle older cattle and develop long-term solutions to reducing the costs of specified risk material (SRM) disposal.
“As one of Canada’s leading exporters and a major customer for our livestock farmers, our red meat processors are a key part of Canada’s economic recovery,” said Ritz.
“If packers are competitive and profitable, our farmers will benefit through stronger markets and our economy will benefit through new jobs.”
While stressing that SRM disposal under Canada’s Enhanced Feed Ban is key to regaining beef access in markets closed due to BSE, Ritz urged the sector to continue to collaborate on all sides and use the federal investment to develop long-term solutions to make producers more competitive.
Over the past 18 months, Ritz has partnered with Canadian farm leaders to lead international trade missions, which restored beef access in the Middle East, Colombia, Russia and Hong Kong as well as pork access in China.
These efforts will bring an estimated $116 million worth of new business to Canada’s pork and beef industry every year.
Contributing to the success of these missions is the new Market Access Secretariat, which was built on the recommendation of the Beef and Pork Value Chain Roundtables.
The Secretariat backstops government and industry efforts in expanding existing markets and opening new ones.