Notes for an address by
The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification
Funding announcement for Western Development Program
Check Against Delivery
Good morning, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s a pleasure to be at the Food Centre again- I love an announcement that you can really sink your teeth into! Thank you for hosting us today.
The Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action plan is to create jobs, grow the Canadian economy and create long-term prosperity. Saskatchewan’s vibrant economy leads the country in growth, and our diverse agriculture sector is a strong contributor. Saskatchewan’s food industry is thriving, with more than 350 fruit growers in operation and sales across the Prairies exceeding $4 million in 2011.
The majority of the fruit we grow here is Saskatoon berries, but other fruits - like sour cherries - are growing in popularity as well. Saskatchewan is home to more than 30 fruit processors. And these companies turn our world-famous Saskatoons into pies, jams and syrups.
Fruit growers and food processors are looking for innovative ways to diversify and develop new markets. And that is why I am pleased to announce that our Government, through WD, is investing $200,000 for the Saskatoon Food Centre to purchase a new juice press.
This new press will allow the Food Centre’s clients to extract juice from mash, which becomes a key ingredient in other food products such as gum, candy and juice. The value-added processing of these snacks produces a higher return to our fruit growers. And higher returns make the industry more competitive in the global market. Both the mash and juice can be further refined to increase its value. After juice is extracted, P.O.S will take the Food Centre’s leftover fruit mash and condense it to its purest form - a concentrate.
Let me give you an example. When you’re having breakfast tomorrow, take a look at the orange juice container. There’s a good chance it will say ‘made from concentrate.’ Before long, our morning glass of juice may contain Saskatchewan-grown fruit concentrate.
I’m very proud that WD is helping bring this value-added service to Saskatchewan. It will generate new markets and profits for provincial fruit growers and food processors. In other words, the profits are “concentrated” right here at home.
Our Government understands the importance of Canada’s agriculture sector and we are committed to strengthening its long term competitiveness. This is why we recently contributed $750,000 to help P.O.S purchase equipment to separate nutrients in fruits and vegetables. Once isolated, these nutrients are concentrated to a powder, which can be easily transported and sold as nutritional additives for vitamins or medications.
And four years ago, we invested $800,000 in a new extruder here at the Food Centre. I’ve seen first-hand how it is helping their clients develop and test new products. I’m also told it has drawn new clients to the Food Centre.
WD’s investments at the Food Centre and P.O.S will diversify Western Canada’s agriculture and life-sciences industries. And similar investments are benefiting Manitoba’s food processing sector. WD contributed $3.3 million to expand the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie. New wet and dry labs expanded their commercial food processing capacity. These investments demonstrate how our Government is creating jobs, growth, and prosperity for all Canadians.
I want to thank Dan (President of Food Centre) for bringing this project forward.
Together, we are building a stronger West for a stronger Canada.
Thank you. Merci.