MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 27, 2012) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz delivered the keynote address today at the 26th Annual Convention of the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA), where he was honoured as this year's recipient of the President's Award. In keeping with the convention's theme, Supplying the World, Minister Ritz outlined the many reasons why the Harper Government continues to help the special crops and pulse industries increase international sales.
"Our Government is working hard to help Canada's special crops and pulse sector supply the world with more of their healthy, superior products," said Minister Ritz. "By giving special crops producers the opportunity to bring their products to new markets, the Harper Government is helping increase sales, which in turn creates jobs and economic growth for Canada."
In his speech, Minister Ritz emphasized the importance of deepening trade and investment opportunities for the sector through the negotiation of free trade agreements with major pulse and special crops customers, such as the European Union, India and Morocco. During his recent trade mission to Morocco, Minister Ritz met with Canadian industry representatives and Moroccan pulse and special crops buyers to find out what the Government can do to strengthen this relationship. He also visited the Canada Pavilion at the Salon International de l'Agriculture au Maroc (SIAM), Africa's largest agricultural trade show, which showcased Canadian pulses.
The Harper Government is providing exporters with sales opportunities in new markets, a commitment most recently underscored by news that the first-ever commercial shipment of Canadian alfalfa hay entered China after Canada secured market access. By focusing on science-based trade, regulation harmonization and the development of internationally recognized phytosanitary standards, including maximum residue levels for crop inputs, the Harper Government is working to ensure more predictable trade for pulse and special crops.
The Harper Government recognizes the importance of efficient and effective trade routes as the lynchpin to new opportunities for special crops and pulse industries in global markets. In his speech, the Minister acknowledged the tremendous work being done by the Canadian Special Crops Association and Pulse Canada on the Crop Logistics Working Group, which continues to seek concrete solutions to supply-chain challenges. Furthermore, the Government is continuing to implement its response to the Rail Freight Service Review to address issues with rail freight service.
Canada is the world leader in the export of peas, lentils, canary seed and mustard seed, with total exports of pulses and special crops reaching $2.5 billion in 2011.