Winnipeg, Man. – The province of Manitoba has announced a long-range goal to raise the profile and increase the growth of its food processing industry.
The Manitoba Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development unveiled a five-point strategy to support the long-term growth of Manitoba’s food industry, including smaller scale farmers and processors.
The goal, says Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba’s minister of Agriculture, is to have a food-processing industry worth $5.5 billion by 2022.
The strategy includes:
• growing and retaining food businesses, by finalizing a food-processing strategy to reach Manitoba’s $5.5-billion processing industry goal, working with existing businesses to accelerate their growth and creating online resources and tools to support food businesses;
• investing in sector development, in partnership with industry and stakeholders, by focusing on areas with economic growth and job opportunities, such as functional foods;
• supporting small-scale farming and processing by reallocating existing staff resources to create a small-scale processing specialist and a small-farm production specialist, while also implementing the recommendations of the Small Scale Food Manitoba working group;
• developing innovative food safety models, through outcome-based regulations that protect food safety and consumers without creating unnecessary barriers for all sizes of food processors; and
• increasing awareness of food production in Manitoba, through existing initiatives like the Local Sustainable Food Pilot Project and new investments that support industry-led activities.
At the same time, the province’s Small Scale Food Manitoba working group, chaired by Dr. Wayne Lees, released its report. The report makes 21 recommendations to improve this growing section of the food economy. The report was based on consultations with the public, farmers, processors and other stakeholders.
A copy of the Small Scale Food Manitoba report is available online at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture.
“We heard from hundreds of Manitobans during our consultations and it is clear that the small-scale food sector wants to play an important role in promoting healthy eating while also building a vibrant food economy,” says Dr. Lees.
“It is with great optimism that the Small Scale Food Manitoba working group looks to the future of small-scale, specialty and artisanal food production and processing in our province.”
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