The federal and provincial governments are providing up to $1.3 million in grants through Growing Forward 2 to help food processors in northern Alberta upgrade equipment, expand capacity and improve efficiency to meet a growing demand for high-quality, value-added products.
“Agri-food and beverage processing companies play an important role in the Canadian economy. Through these investments, we are creating opportunities for Alberta’s agri-food sector to grow and prosper, and create good jobs to strengthen the middle class,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The investments reflect the governments’ commitment to support jobs in food processing and to help value-added businesses pursue economic opportunities and respond to consumer demand, according to a press release.
“The growth and expansion of Alberta’s food processing sector benefits farmers and agri-businesses across the province and builds on our international reputation as a center for high-quality food products. Our support to the sector supports it to expand its capacity and increase efficiency,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.
ADM received $546,000 through Growing Forward 2 toward costs of an equipment upgrade to improve capacity and increase efficiency, while Bunge received approximately $280,000 to help upgrade its oilseed processing facility in Fort Saskatchewan. GFR Ingredients also received a grant to purchase equipment for the production of high-protein hemp powder products, and Champion Petfood LP received $288,990 for equipment and systems to increase productivity and reduce energy consumption.
“The Growing Forward 2 grants have helped fund investments in Lloydminster that provide an easy, accessible way for local farmers to access global markets for canola,” said Tim Cassidy, commercial manager, ADM Agri-Industries Ltd.
In 2016, the food and beverage processing sector in Alberta generated $14.6 billion in sales and was the largest manufacturing employer in the province accounting for more than 22,400 jobs.
The Growing Forward 2 initiative is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership that provides programs and services to drive an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-foods sector. By the end of the Growing Forward 2 initiative in March 2018, it is expected that more than $406 million will have been invested in strategic programs for Alberta’s agricultural sector.