Canada’s Ministry of agriculture and Agri-Food has announced its plans to inject around C$89m ($66m) into its dairy, poultry and egg industries.
The Supply Management Processing Investment Fund (SMPIF) will go towards supporting 49 projects throughout the country.
It intends to assist manufacturers with navigating “the impacts of recent international trade agreements.”
These include the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).
The initiative appears to be a new edition of a similar package of measures introduced for poultry, egg and dairy processors back in 2020.
Farmers will be able to use the latest funding to buy and install new automated technology which would help them tackle environmental challenges and labour shortages as well as to boost their production capacity and productivity, the government said in a release.
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Some of the projects being supported with the allocated funds include robotic technology for packaging, milk pasteurisers, ultrafiltration equipment and machinery to grade, set and break eggs.
“These upgrades will help modernise the production facility, reduce waste and improve productivity”, the government said.
Speaking in a statement, Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, said: “With this funding, dairy, poultry and egg processors will be able to modernize their operations so they can continue providing Canadian families with high-quality products while supporting small, rural communities across the country.”
Applications for the grant are open with immediate effect, with the SMPIF able to back up to half of eligible project costs led by SMEs and up to a quarter for bigger companies with 500 or more employees.
Mathieu Frigon, president and CEO, Dairy Processors Association of Canada, said: “We commend government officials for their flexibility and responsiveness to the evolving needs of the dairy processing community in the administration of this programme.”
Mark Hubert, president and CEO, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council said that the fund “has enabled numerous poultry and egg processors to make important new investments in their facilities.”
He added: “New investments in equipment and technology will facilitate companies’ efforts to increase productivity and efficiency and enable Canadian poultry and egg processors to undertake valuable and leading-edge modernisation projects.”
MacAulay announced the news at the Lactalis Canada cheese plant in Ingleside, Ontario, which is receiving approximately C$3.3m to develop new automated cheese processing and packaging technology.
Lactalis Canada produces a range of consumer dairy brands such as Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro and Cracker Barrel.
Worth C$397.5m in total, the SMPIF initiative was launched in 2022 to support “processors of supply-managed commodities” grapple with market shifts due to trade deals.
Last October, Canada announced it would pay up to C$333m over the next decade to dairy producers as non-repayable compensation for concessions it had made in trade agreements.
Canadian dairy and poultry production in 2022 delivered around C$14bn in sales and created around 100,000 jobs, according to the government.