“Canada’s organic sector is innovative, fast-growing, and producing some of the world’s best organic food,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said Oct. 23. He announced two investments that “will help organic farmers get more of their high-quality products to consumers abroad and to their own neighbours, while putting more money in their pockets.”
The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) will receive $180,000 from the AgriMarketing Program to help it stay ahead of international market trends by participating in international trade shows, developing promotional materials, and building a long-term international strategy for the organic sector.
COTA Executive Director Matthew Holmes said, “The AgriMarketing Program support has been essential in providing these small and medium-sized businesses with the means to grow and expand in critical global markets and realize their potential in the fast-paced organic market.”
The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) will receive $152,000 from the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) to develop innovative tools and technologies that will enable producers to strengthen their relationships with existing customers, attract new investments, and gather business intelligence that will benefit the sector as a whole. These innovations include new co-op models, community-shared agriculture projects, and online webinars to improve the organic sector’s social and economic sustainability.
The Canadian organic retail market was valued at close to $2 billion in 2008, representing a 66 per cent growth from the $1.2-billion organic retail value in 2006. Since then the organic market has continued to grow, reaching more than $2.6 billion in 2010. Specifically, exports of agri-food products reached $390 million in 2010.