Harper Government Helps Manitoba Company Pound Out New Jobs and Market Opportunities

Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, April 10, 2012 - The Government of Canada is investing in a vegetable processing facility that will benefit local growers and create 20 jobs during the first year of production. Member of Parliament Candice Hoeppner (Portage-Lisgar), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced today an investment of $2.5 million for Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Products Inc. to increase production of their high-quality purees.

"We remain committed to helping our farmers succeed and we will continue to invest in innovative ideas like this one that can deliver real economic benefits," said MP Hoeppner. "This project is a great example of what we are trying to achieve with our investments in innovation and commercialization - a company that started out with an idea, identified a need in the marketplace and is filling it in a way that benefits producers and customers alike."

The repayable contribution, provided by the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), will help the company expand its puree manufacturing facility to commercial-scale production, using a novel production process that is new to the Canadian market. The system is economical to operate and leaves a small environmental footprint.

The company will manufacture vegetable purees using a new processing technology that uses rapid steam-infusion cooking to retain the colour, texture, flavour and nutritional quality of the products in the puree. Quality purees are ideal for producing soup and baby food, as they provide superior quality and extended shelf life.

"This initiative is very important for the vegetable and fruit growers in Manitoba. AAFC's investment will enable value-added agri-business to create jobs and improved sales for local growers," says Kelly Beaulieu, P. Ag., Vice President. "The vegetables and fruit produced in Manitoba are of premium quality and the puree format we developed is a superior method for providing global export opportunity."

Local farmers will also benefit from this innovative project. Producers will be able to use more of their harvested crops since they often have produce that is both fresh and healthy but not a suitable size and shape for direct sale.

This is the first project funded under AIP - a $50 million initiative announced as part of the next phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan. AIP is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting edge science and technology. AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about the Agricultural Innovation Program and other AAFC programs please visit www.agr.gc.ca.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa (Ontario)
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

Browse our news releases