Exporters can apply for funding to develop diversified marketing opportunities
By Paula Schuck
A federal-provincial government initiative launched this week aims to alleviate some of the economic stress Ontario producers feel due to global trade disputes.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is now accepting applications for the Market Access Initiative, a cost-sharing program designed to encourage Ontario food and agri-product exporters to find new, emerging or expanding markets at home and abroad.
“The quality of Ontario’s farm products has and always will be among the best in the world – and trade disputes don’t change this. We’re pleased to apply the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help expand markets for Ontario’s agri-food industry and to support the sector in its efforts to innovate and be open for business,” Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, said in a Tuesday release.
Ag industry leaders welcome the program but emphasize the challenges of the current market.
“Trade disputes have taken a heavy toll on Ontario pork producers in the last two years,” said Eric Schwindt, chair of Ontario Pork, in the release. "We thank both governments for this market access initiative and look forward to working with them to ensure producers across all commodities receive equitable consideration."
“We have lost a lot in the last year and a half as a result of the U.S. and China trade wars,” Markus Haerle, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, said to Farms.com in an interview. “Is (the program) enough? Probably not, but it is an important step in the right direction.”
“This announcement recognizes the costs that the escalating trade disruptions and barriers are having on the competitiveness and viability of the beef sector,” said Joe Hill, president of the Beef Farmers of Ontario, in a Tuesday release.
Applicants may only submit one form at any given time. But applicants notified of decisions may apply for funding for another project.
For more information or to access the program materials and applications forms, visit omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/market_access.htm or call 1-877-424-1300.
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