The Canadian Government said it is offering the funds for investment in new processing technologies and projects. The aim of the programme is to help boost income and business for processors and farmers.
Processing to drive economic recovery
Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of State for Agriculture and National Revenues, said: “Our Government knows that a healthy processing sector will drive the recovery of our economy. This investment will help processors acquire new technology, new equipment, and new expertise that will keep them on the cutting edge here at home and around the world."
The cash-infection for processors comes on the back of the government’s announcement earlier this week that it was to spend an extra $75m to strengthen the country’s food safety system.
Chris Kyte, president of Food Processors of Canada, said: “The symbolism is as important as the reality. For years the food processing industry has suffered from benign neglect but the current government understands that food processing is important.
He added that Canadian food processors buy half of what farmers grow and that if there were no processors, there would be fewer farmers. He welcomed the fact that this reality was being recognised.
“The repayable loan program will lever incremental investments to improve productivity, reduce carbon foot prints, and to advance traceability initiatives,” said Kyte.
Processors can apply through the AgriProcessing Initiative (API) for the cash which will be made available over five years. The funds can be used to buy and install equipment to help Canadian plants adopt new manufacturing expertise and processes. It may also cover some of the costs for employing external consultants to advise on these issues.
The initiative may also contribute towards costs related to the contracting of external expertise for services related to equipment installation, and consultation, design, and advice regarding new (novel to facility) manufacturing technologies, processes and products.
"This funding will help our processors weather the credit crunch and build their businesses for the future,” said Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux.
Loan application forms are available at API@agr.gc.ca