'Brand Canada' gets funding boost

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability Agriculture

The Canadian government has announced a $32 million investment into a branding initiative to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s food sector.

The Canada Brand Advocacy Initiative (CBAI) will put the country's maple leaf brand on products grown by Canadian farmers in a bid to increase global sales. The initiative will help farmers promote their products by funding market analysis, advertising campaigns and public opinion research.

"Canadian farmers want to make their living in the marketplace and buyers around the world are looking for the premium products the maple leaf has come to symbolize,"​ said Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

"This investment is going to help Canadian farmers drive market research and promotional campaigns to maximize opportunities around the world."

Competitive challenge

A spokesperson for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said that the initiative is aimed at increasing demand for Canadian products in “select markets” ​where the “competitive challenges and opportunities for our sector are greatest.”

He added that the markets targeted “could include the US​”, but denied that the initiative was produced in response to the US country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules, which were introduced last year.

The aim of the CBAI is to more actively promote the strengths and benefits of the Canada Brand directly to consumers in other markets,”​ he said.

“These efforts could help raise the profile of all the good things Canada can offer the world’s consumers, including those consumers in the United States, so that we can build demand for our food and agriculture products.”

Canadian exporters have suffered in the US market since the introduction of COOL, which requires a variety of fresh produce to be labeled with origin. Canada has filed a complaint with the WTO over the rules, arguing that they are damaging its economy.

CBAI is the third program delivered from Canada’s $500 million AgriFlexibility fund. The fund aims to improve the competitiveness of the country’s agricultural sector through investments to help reduce the cost of production or improve environmental sustainability for the sector; investments in value-chain innovation or sectoral adaptation and investments to address emerging opportunities and challenges for the sector.

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