Conestoga Meats will receive a loan of up to $10 million to expand its facilities
By Diego Flammini
The Canadian government is helping an Ontario pork processor expand to meet the needs of important trade markets.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, the federal ag minister, announced yesterday that Conestoga Meats will receive a federal loan of up to $10 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
“This investment under the AgriInnovate Program will help the company adopt new technologies to increase production and to help capture exciting new opportunities in Asia, especially in Japan,” Bibeau said during Thursday’s announcement.
The new technologies include a state-of-the-art cooling system developed at the University of Guelph. The funding will also support to a facility expansion and help pork producers take advantage of trade agreements like the CPTPP, she added.
The federal investment will help Conestoga Meats operate more efficiently and hire up to 200 additional workers.
Reducing processing times and improving the shelf life of pork products is important for meeting market requirements, said Arnold Drung, president of Conestoga Meats.
“We already have a long shelf life on our products and we want to increase that,” he told Farms.com. “That’s very important for the Japanese market, especially as we want to increase the volume (of meat) we export there.”
Canada’s pork exports totaled about $4 billion in 2018, making the country as one of the top three global pork producers.
But, as competition grows, companies like Conestoga Meats must adapt to help Canadian pork remain competitive.
“As a company we must continue to do things better in order to compete in this environment,” Drung said.
Bibeau also discussed new measures to help keep the national hog herd safe from African swine fever.
“While we already have strong import controls in place for all pork products, I have also signed a ministerial declaration implementing stronger import controls on plant-based feed ingredients arriving at certain Canadian marine ports where products typically arrive from countries of concern with regards to ASF,” she said.
The ports in the minister’s declaration are the Ports of Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Prince Rupert, Quebec and Toronto.