A industry-government food processing action plan has been launched in Vancouver, Canada to kick off a pilot project to actively promote the high-quality foods that Canadian farmers and food processors produce.
“Our government recognises the importance of the food processing industry, which employs nearly 300,000 Canadians and contributes significantly to the Canadian economy,” said Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture). “Together with the Canadian food processing industry, we have developed an action plan to improve the competitiveness and growth potential of this important sector.”
“Industry is very pleased and encouraged that Minister Blackburn has taken the initiative to recognize the importance of the food processing sector and the need to address the challenges facing our sector,” said Ted Johnston, the President of the Alberta Food Processors Association and industry co-chair of the Food Processors Competitiveness Working Group. “Many issues remain that will affect the long-term success of food processing in Canada, but we are positive that this important first step will continue to move the industry forward.”
The “Growing the Canadian Food Processing Sector – An Industry-Government Action Plan” was developed jointly by government and industry through roundtables with the processing industry held in 2009 and 2010 by Minister Blackburn to identify the challenges facing the sector and find solutions to enable it to grow and strengthen its competitive capacity.
The actions in the Plan target four key areas of economics, market access, innovation and the regulatory environment. Far from static, most of the actions recommended in the Plan are expected to be completed over the next 12 months. The actions are wide ranging, including research studies, policy and program reviews, and the development of new initiatives to improve the competitiveness of the sector.