July 3rd, 2015
It is no secret that farming and agriculture are a strong element of Canada’s national past, providing a major cornerstone for its economy. As the markets continue to fluctuate around the world, the farming industry needs to remain flexible in response to demand.
One of the largest demands in the modern industry is for organic products. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of healthy eating, and many of them are committed to changing their lifestyle to a healthier approach. Many consumers are going organic as a result, and are invested in supporting the organic farming industry.
As the demand for organic products is on the rise, so too is the demand for organic farmers to create these products. Of course, starting a farm or switching a farm to an organic approach is no easy process. In fact, it can be rather expensive. Fortunately the Canadian government recognizes the importance of sustainable agriculture and have designed government grants to support these endeavours. So what government grants are available for organic farming in Canada?
The Canadian Organic Trade Association (COTA)
The Canadian government has directly supported organic farming by recently investing CAD $785,660 to the Canadian Organic Trade Association, or COTA. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz approved this investment, suggesting that Canada’s organic sector is one of the most innovative in the world, which is rapidly growing to produce high quality organic products.
COTA is designed to promote Canada’s organic sector on a worldwide basis by increasing its visibility in the world’s market. As the fifth-largest organic market in the world, it is only sensible that the Canadian government should invest in organic farming. Canada currently has over 4,500 organic farms and 1,000 organic processors and handlers, and this number continues to rise.
Since 2006, the federal government has committed over CAD $20 million for organic farming research, market development, innovation, and risk management. They want to support a flexible, viable, and stable organic sector in Canada.
COTA is helping to raise awareness of organic farming in Canada by attending trade shows and conferences around the world to showcase what Canada has to bring to the organic farming table.
Where does this funding originate?
The investment for this major piece of funding originated through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing Program. The AgriMarketing Program is a five-year initiative running from 2013 to 2018 to supply CAD $341 million in support for Canada’s agricultural sector.
The AgriMarketing Program helps farmers stay relevant in the competitive agricultural marketplace, both at home and abroad. The goal is to help organic farmers produce more goods at a higher quality, while earning higher profits in the process.
It also helps farmers through various government projects and contribution funding. The major goal is to increase farmer’s access to the marketplace. This includes building long-term marketing plans, undertaking promotional activities to raise awareness on a global scale, meeting basic marketing requirements, as well as meeting buyer and market assurances. One of the most important aspects of organic farming is ensuring that the product was created in a genuinely organic fashion, and the assurance systems stream helps organic farmers create and maintain these standards.
Organic farming provides a fresh perspective on farming that is becoming increasingly trendy not only in Canada but around the globe. Sustainable agriculture is difficult to do, but the benefits seem to be outweighing the costs for the average modern consumer. Get in contact with us at INAC to see if your organic farm in Canada is eligible for a government grant, such as the funding available through the AgriMarketing Program.