Government of Canada Invests in Flax Industry Innovation
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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan February 12, 2010 - The Government of Canada is investing in innovation to help Canadian flax farmers deliver high quality products to consumers here and around the world. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today that the Flax Council of Canada will receive up to $5.9 million to help create new flax varieties and develop an improved method for flax seed testing.
"New and improved flax varieties will give Canadian farmers increased flax yield and more opportunities to succeed in international markets," said Minister Ritz. "The Government of Canada knows that agriculture is a cornerstone of our economy and that's why we are helping keep farmers on the cutting edge with investments in research and innovation."
This investment will go towards two initiatives:
- $4.0 million from the Developing Innovative Agri-Products program (DIAP) will help the Flax Council of Canada produce new herbicide tolerant Canadian flax to improve the performance of flax. Increased genetic diversity of flax will give growers across Canada another sustainable oilseed crop option, in turn increasing crop yield for export to world markets. Fortifying flax varieties to improve crop yield is extremely important in enhancing the Canadian flax industry's long-term ability to supply world demand.
- Up to $1.9 million from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) will be used by the Flax Council of Canada to develop sampling and testing methods to identify the presence of genetically modified (GM) flaxseed in Canadian flax exports. Results will be used to assure global flax markets that Canada knows its crop and is in control of the quality of the flax delivered. In turn, this will serve to increase competitiveness in the flax seed industry.
"This is a very welcomed development for the flax industry. The support to develop an herbicide tolerant flax that will be accepted in all markets will be a major accomplishment," said Flax Council President and CEO Barry Hall. "As well, the support to the industry through CAAP funding will assist in the industry in responding to the challenges it is experiencing in the EU market place."
Canada is the largest supplier of flax in the world, producing almost 50 per cent of the world supply and 80 per cent of world exports, with a farm gate value of $346 million in 2008.
In addition to the Developing Innovative Agri-Products initiative and the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program, Canada's Economic Action Plan supports agriculture as a core economic driver in this country. The Government of Canada is focused on strengthening the economy, while preparing to pay down the deficit and to create and protect the jobs of the future. Investments in viable market opportunities will help build an even stronger flax industry and Canadian economy.
For more information on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs visit www.agr.gc.ca.
For more information, media may contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
President/CEO Flax Council of Canada
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