News Release Article from  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Harper Government Creates Market Opportunities for Hemp Producers

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Edmonton, Alberta, November 5, 2012 - New investments in research and market development will help Canadian farmers tap into growing demand for hemp. MP Blaine Calkins, (Wetaskawin), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, today announced investments in projects with the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance CHTA that will help determine the best hemp varieties by region and will give hemp growers the tools they need to promote Canadian hemp in international markets.

"Investments like these will help Canadian farmers tap into growing demand for hemp, diversify their businesses, and capture new revenue sources," said MP Calkins. "Our Government continues to expand market opportunities to boost the bottom line for Canadian farmers."

An investment of more than $64,000 from the Agricultural Innovation Program ( AIP) will be used to test and evaluate different hemp varieties across Canada for their food and non-food uses. This project will help the industry identify the best hemp varieties to grow in each region for grain yield and fibre yield.

A second investment of over $31,000 through the AgriMarketing Program will support the CHTA in growing Canada's presence in new and existing international hemp markets. It will help the CHTA develop promotional material, participate in key international tradeshows, attract new clients, and undertake market research to identify market opportunities.

"It is the goal of the Canadian Hemp Industry to grow 100,000 acres of hemp by 2015, which represents more than $100 million to the Canadian economy" said Markus Schmulgen, President of CHTA . "In order to achieve this goal, effective investments into R&D and marketing efforts are vital. The funds provided by AIP and the AgriMarketing program will enable the CHTA to assist industry in reaching our objective."

Hemp is a crop that can be grown for food and non-food purposes, providing farmers with a versatile and lucrative crop. In 2010, demand surpassed supply in the hemp market. The results of these projects will help position farmers to meet this demand and grow opportunities in the marketplace.

The AIP is a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. The AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector.

Through the AgriMarketing Program under Growing Forward, the Harper Government is investing $88 million to help industry implement long-term international strategies, including activities such as international market development, industry-to-industry trade advocacy, and consumer awareness and branding.

The Harper Government has identified innovation and market development as a priority under Growing Forward 2. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in these key sectors, and this announcement is another example of what is being done to enhance long-term growth in Canadian agriculture.

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