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Harper Government Helps Apple Producers Access Healthy Snack Market
Waterloo, Ontario, July 4, 2012 - Over 40 Ontario apple producers will see an increase in demand for their top-quality apples with the support of the Harper Government. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and member of Parliament Harold Albrecht (Kitchener - Conestoga) today announced an investment of $1.5 million for Martin's Family Fruit Farm to create a new processing line for apple crisps and cider. By 2016, the project is expected to result in an increased annual demand for Canadian apples, offer a premium to growers on second-grade apples, and result in the creation of up to 30 new full-time positions.
"This is an excellent example of how Canada's agriculture sector is innovating to meet the growing demand for healthier, more natural foods," said Minister Ritz. "Our government knows that innovation is the key to keeping our farmers and processors profitable and competitive."
"Our local and regional economy is driven by our hardworking farmers and producers," said MP Albrecht. "This targeted investment will create jobs and give local farmers a new market opportunity, increasing demand for their crops and boosting their profits."
The new production line will slice apples into rings (skin left on), and dehydrate and package them without any additives or preservatives. The new mass production equipment and processing capacity for these types of crisps does not currently exist in the sector. By-product from the apple crisp line will be used to produce apple cider.
The Fruit Farm supplements roughly 65% of its apple supply with produce purchased from over 40 local Ontario growers. The use of the production by-product to produce apple cider shows a great commitment to maximizing the use of and profits from existing agricultural resources and will make the company more competitive with dominant growers in the United States.
"Martin's Family Fruit Farm is pleased to have the support of the Government of Canada through the Agricultural Innovation Program to establish our new venture," said Kevin Martin, President of Martin's Family Fruit Farm. "Together, we will be creating a new opportunity to contribute to the growth and sustainability of the Ontario apple industry."
This investment is provided through the Agricultural Innovation Program - a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. The Program is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The Agricultural Innovation Program boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector. This funding will be finalized upon the signing of a contribution agreement. For more information about this and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit www.agr.gc.ca.
For more information, media may contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
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