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Eat locally, eh? Canadian government entices food producers

By Jenni Spinner+

15-May-2014

The Canadian province of Manitoba is home to more than 250 food producers, including The Great Gorp Project.
The Canadian province of Manitoba is home to more than 250 food producers, including The Great Gorp Project.

The Manitoba government is working to grow the province’s food-related business, currently valued at $4bn annually, with financial and educational encouragement.

The purpose of the group is to lend encourage food processors, marketers, growers, and other entities to grow through financial assistance, regulatory guidance, and training.  It will place a special emphasis on increasing the safety of the food supply.

“Many Manitobans are seeking out food grown and processed closer to home,” said Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn. “This growing market is important to farmers, processors, and the provincial economy.”

Bustling business

Manitoba is home to more than 250 food processing companies, making it the province’s most significant manufacturing sector. Food production comprises 25% of all of its manufacturing shipments each year, approximately $4bn worth.

The working group will be headed by Dr. Wayne Lees, head of the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) ministry. Members will encourage dialogue among processors, marketers, and citizens on food safety, prime areas of opportunity in food operations, and ways to lay the foundation for future growth.

Plan of action

After a period of dialogue with the Manitoba food-producing community, the working group will hammer out a list of ways to facilitate the growth, sustainability, and safety to the local government.

The Manitoba government’s support of local food businesses include financial and technical assistance, helping businesses institute capital improvements and meet regulatory requirements. It also hosts workshops on food-related concerns, such as ways to increase safety in meat-processing operations.

Leaders also are planning seminars outlining proposed regulations for safety provisions at processing plants, slaughterhouses, dairy producers, and other facilities.

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