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Canada's largest association of high-bush blueberry producers will build on their long-term international strategy to highlight Canada's world class blueberries abroad and increase sales. The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway announced today an investment in the British Columbia Blueberry Council (BCBC) to help growers market their blueberries in new and existing international markets.
"Canada's blueberries are gaining recognition around the world for their many health benefits and superior quality," said Minister Fast. "That is why we are helping our world-class blueberry producers expand and succeed abroad as a key part of our plan to open new markets around the world for our exporters."
This investment of more than $54,000 will support the Council in boosting its international presence through market research and participation at trade shows. Some key elements of this strategy are to promote the industry's high standards of food safety and quality and to build solid relationships with potential buyers.
"Canadian high-bush blueberries from British Columbia are proud to be part of the Canada Brand program providing the world with a healthy, top-quality, food-safe product," Said Debbie Etsell, BCBC Executive Director. "These AgriMarketing funds will go a long way to create opportunities that will increase competitiveness and sales in new and existing markets."
The BCBC represents over 650 high-bush blueberry producers and is responsible for 96 per cent of Canada's total high-bush blueberry production. The Council aims to enhance the viability and strategic development of the blueberry industry for the benefit of the growers through promotion, research, industry education and relationship building.
Canada produced 54,000 metric tons of high-bush blueberries in 2011 and is one of the top producers in the world.
Today's announcement is part of an $88-million investment provided through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward. This program helps industry implement long-term international strategies, including international market development, industry-to-industry trade advocacy, and consumer awareness and branding activities.
The Harper Government has identified market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2, and this announcement is another example of what is being done to enhance competitiveness and drive innovation and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture. In addition to generous multi-year funding for risk management programs, Growing Forward 2 also includes more than $3 billion in strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness, and market development.
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