HALIFAX, June 27, 2002 - A new chapter in the development of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry was opened today with the signing of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Framework Agreement on Agriculture and Agri-food for the Twenty-First Century.
Federal-provincial, and territorial ministers of agriculture are holding their annual meeting here today and tomorrow.
The Government of Canada and the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador signed the agreement. Prince Edward Island, the Yukon and Northwest Territories have initialed the agreements pending final approvals of their governments. The agreement will continue to be available for signing by the remaining provinces.
The agreement, beginning in 2003, represents a comprehensive and long-term commitment to the profitability of the sector by federal, provincial and territorial governments. It sets the stage for the implementation of the five-year Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), a national agreement to make sure the Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry is the world leader in food safety and quality, environmentally responsible production and innovation.
Ministers agreed in principle to the long-term direction in agricultural policy at their annual meeting in Whitehorse last year and have been consulting with industry on its development.
The agreement will see action in five key areas – food safety and quality, science and innovation, skills and renewal, the environment and the management of business risks on the farm.
With the signing of the agreement, Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work, in consultation with industry, t
- build on Canada's reputation as a producer of safe, high-quality food by strengthening food safety systems throughout the production chain;
- enhance the sector's environmental performance;
- use science to help the sector create economic opportunities with innovative new products and to strengthen environment stewardship and food safety practices;
- renew the agricultural sector through skills training that helps farmers adapt to change; and
- improve farmers' ability to manage business risks on the farm.
Later in the meeting, Ministers will discuss detailed plans to gain greater recognition at home and abroad for the industry's capacity to continuously innovate, and to supply safe, high-quality food produced in an environmentally-friendly manner. They will also look at ways to improve global market access opportunities for Canadian agri-food products.
About one half of all agriculture production in Canada is exported. Ministers underlined the importance of helping the Canadian industry stay ahead of increasing international competition and to be the world leader in meeting the quality demands of Canadian and global customers.
Ministers will also review proposals, to be discussed with industry, for business risk management programs that would help farmers not only deal with current risks on their farms but would also help them reduce risk and promote growth in their operations.
The Government of Canada last week announced a commitment of $3.4 billion in new federal funding as its contribution to help implement the APF. This is on top of existing support to the sector. When implementation agreements are signed, provincial-territorial cost-sharing will add additional funds over the life of the agreement.
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