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Government Support Canada's Pig Industry to Adapt to Consumer Demands

02 June 2014

CANADA - The Harper Government is working to improve animal welfare and the economic viability of Canada's pig industry.

Canada's swine industry has received a C$13-million investment from the Harper Government for a pork research cluster that will help the sector to keep pace with changing consumer demands, enhance disease resilience and continue focusing on animal welfare measures.

This investment, being made under the AgriInnovation Program, will help the sector to build on the work done under the previous $9.5 million swine cluster (2010–13). The new cluster, led by Swine Innovation Porc, will help industry experts, scientists and academics to increase market share and competitiveness by enhancing the nutritional value of pork products.

The investment includes $2 million for Agriculture and Agri-food Canada researchers to participate in trials that help reduce production and feed input costs and enhance product attributes and profitability. Industry partners are providing $4.3 million to support the research cluster.

Agriculture Minister, Gerry Ritz, commented: "The continued health of the pork sector is crucial to the Canadian economy. Our government is proud to work with industry on efforts to stay ahead of the curve by investing in clusters that foster adaptability and sustainability."

Stewart Cressman, Chair of Swine Innovation Porc, said: "This support from both the AgriInnovation Program and industry partners for a second round of the swine cluster will enable us to continue the work that was initiated during Growing Forward.

"This new programme is designed to enhance competitiveness, drive innovation, accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies and practices and ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of the Canadian swine industry."

Jean-Guy Vincent, Chair of Canadian Pork Council, added: "Thanks to Minister Ritz's leadership, this investment in the swine research cluster will allow our industry to engage the best Canadian scientists on critical production and product issues. Our focus is on research that is aimed at reducing cost and creating more ‘game changers' through greater and quicker innovation breakthroughs that will further strengthen our industry."

In 2013, Canada was the third largest pork exporter, with sales of $3.6 billion to more than 100 countries.

Swine Innovation Porc works with industry, government and academia to facilitate research, technology transfer and commercialization initiatives designed to enhance the profitability of the Canadian pork value chain.

AAFC's AgriInnovation Program is a $698-million initiative under the five-year Growing Forward 2 framework, designed to support research and development industry-led activities.The first cluster helped improve the quality of Canadian pork by using genomic information and introduced a precision feeding system that reduces feed costs by as much as $8 per pig, among other successes.

The new swine research cluster (2013–18) includes industry participation from more than 22 organistions representing all aspects of the pork value chain.

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