WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA —The Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) is investing up to C$6.2 million to help the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi) expand the market for Canadian wheat through technical support, market research, employee exchanges and customized training for customers and commercial partners in over 50 countries.

According to AAFC, the grain sector is a key driver of Canada’s economic growth, exporting 20.5 million tonnes of wheat in 2017 and C$21 billion in exports sales.

“The Canadian International Grains Institute has been successful in their sustained efforts to ensure buyers here and abroad have a better knowledge and trust in Canadian wheat quality,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of the AAFC. This investment demonstrates that the Government of Canada is committed to supporting the grains sector, improving their competitiveness and fostering continued economic growth for our middle-class and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.”

This project, funded through the AgriMarketing Program, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), will enable Cigi to strengthen relations with buyers and prevent future market access issues, while expanding existing markets and developing new opportunities around the world. The CAP is a five-year, C$3 billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food sector.

“The government of Canada has been a key contributor to Cigi’s success throughout its 47-year history,” said JoAnne Buth, chief executive officer of Cigi. “Over the next three years this funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership program will be used by Cigi to maintain confidence in Canadian wheat quality in international markets, improve customer knowledge of the performance and functionality of Canadian wheat, and gather and share information on customers’ end-use requirements with the Canadian value chain.”

In the upcoming year, Cigi will engage with customers from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Gulf region.

“Cigi’s relationships with millers and end-users around the world and the technical knowledge of Cigi staff with respect to the processes and needs of customers are critical to supporting the Canadian value chain and responding to technical issues that may impact purchasing decisions,” Buth said.

Cigi is a not-for-profit organization established in 1972 to work with the grain and field crop value chain throughout Canada and internationally to drive the development and increase the use of Canadian agricultural products.

The investment announcement is part of Bibeau’s first agricultural tour since she was elected on March 1. Bibeau is meeting with farmers, processors and industry leaders, as well as participate in local agricultural events, to highlight strategic federal agricultural investments and programs and how they will help to build an even stronger and more innovative sector for Canada.