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Harper Government Announces Federal Growing Forward 2 Programs

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 12/07/12 -- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today unveiled three new federal programs under Canada's new agricultural policy framework Growing Forward 2 that will streamline investments in the agriculture and agri-food sector. The new programs will focus on strategic initiatives in innovation, competitiveness and market development to further strengthen the sector's capacity to grow and prosper.

"These new Growing Forward 2 programs will build on the success of existing programs to provide more streamlined support to the sector to help it remain a world leader in agricultural innovation and trade," said Minister Ritz. "We are making sure farmers and the entire sector have the tools and resources they need to stay ahead of the ever-changing demands of consumers."

Three new federal programs will come into effect on April 1, 2013:


--  The AgriInnovation Program will focus on investments to expand the
    sector's capacity to develop and commercialize new products and
    technologies. 
--  The AgriMarketing Program will help industry improve its capacity to
    adopt assurance systems, such as food safety and traceability, to meet
    consumer and market demands. It will also support industry in
    maintaining and seizing new markets for their products through branding
    and promotional activities. 
--  The AgriCompetitiveness Program will target investments to help
    strengthen the agriculture and agri-food industry's capacity to adapt
    and be profitable in domestic and global markets. 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is proactively providing information to farmers and the industry so that they are familiar with the kind of support that will be available and so they may plan their applications well in advance. The AgriInnovation Program will begin accepting applications immediately, while AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness will begin accepting applications early in the new year.

Growing Forward 2 represents a $3 billion investment over five years in strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness and market development, in addition to a full and comprehensive suite of business risk management programs that will continue to help farmers withstand severe market volatility and disasters. Investments in the three priority areas are critical to facilitating the sector's expansion and leveraging of provincial-territorial and industry investments to increase productivity, growth and jobs.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is also improving service delivery through better program design and streamlined administration, as promised in Economic Action Plan 2012. This will make it easier for applicants to access programs and report results from federal investments.

For more information on Growing Forward 2 and the three new federal programs, please see the attached Backgrounder or visit www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward2.

BACKGROUNDER

AgriInnovation, AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness Programs

The AgriInnovation Program

The AgriInnovation Program is designed to accelerate the pace of innovation by supporting research and development activities and facilitating the demonstration, commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, technologies, processes, practices and services. The AgriInnovation Program supports the following industry-led streams:


--  Industry-led Research and Development: 

The objective of this stream is to support pre-commercialization research, development and knowledge transfer leading to innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based practices, processes and products. This stream may provide non-repayable contributions to approved applicants, and/or access to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientists and experts for knowledge transfer.

The stream provides non-repayable support for two types of projects:


i.  Agri-Science Cluster: an agri-science cluster aims to mobilize and
    coordinate a critical mass of scientific expertise in industry, academia
    and government (referred to as a Cluster). The agri-science cluster
    would be national in scope. 
ii. Agri-Science Project: a single research project or a smaller set of
    projects that would be more focused in scope than an agri-science
    cluster. The scope may be national, regional or local. 

--  Commercialization: 

The objective of this stream is to facilitate the demonstration, commercialization and adoption of innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services, through repayable investments. Funding is designed to support and reduce the financial risk associated with late-stage activities on the innovation continuum.

For more information on how to apply, visit www.agr.gc.ca/Agri-Innovation, call 1-877-246-4682 or email aip-pai@agr.gc.ca.

The AgriMarketing Program

The AgriMarketing Program will invest in the following:


--  Projects that enhance the sector's access to international markets by
    differentiating and promoting Canadian products and sectors, and
    providing market development tools that are critical to competing in an
    ever-changing global marketplace; and 
--  Projects that help the sector develop assurance systems and standards
    that give Canadian products a competitive advantage through credible
    quality and health claims, including food safety and traceability
    systems. 

The AgriCompetitiveness Program

The AgriCompetitiveness Program will make directed investments that will help the sector adapt to rapidly changing and emerging global and domestic opportunities and issues, respond to market trends and enhance business and entrepreneurial capacity.

Contacts:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Jeffrey English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059
Jeffrey.english@agr.gc.ca

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