QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC, CANADA — Canadian officials announced on Dec. 7 creation of the Sectoral Development Program to help the stakeholders of the agri-food sector work together on large-scale collective projects.

The C$25 million program was announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), the Honorable Lawrence MacAulay, and the Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Pierre Paradis.

"The government of Canada is committed to supporting a dynamic and innovative agricultural sector,” said MacAulay. “The new Sectoral Development Program provides stakeholders with an opportunity to collaborate on projects that will improve their competitiveness. I am pleased that the federal and provincial governments are working together to strengthen the agriculture and agri-food industry."

The program includes four sectoral streams: support for collaboration; support for development; support for innovation in response to priority issues; and support for projects initiated by groups and associations of agricultural producers.

"Collaboration among all stakeholders is the core of this new program. Such collaboration is what makes it possible to promote growth-generating projects for the development of the agri-food industry,” Paradis said. “We must keep in mind that this activity sector is a powerful economic lever that contributes significantly to the vitality of all regions of Quebec."

This new program is being implemented under the 2013 Canada−Quebec Growing Forward 2 Agreement. Under this 2013 Agreement, the governments of Canada and Quebec provided C$293 million in funding over a five-year period. The purpose of this agreement is to support strategic initiatives in innovation, competitiveness and market development for the benefit of both the agricultural sector and the food processing sector.