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Sask. agri-food industry, communities to get $10M in funding

The federal investment aims to create jobs and attract people to move back or settle in these areas, which are primarily farming and cattle breeding regions.

SASKATOON — The Canadian federal government has announced an investment of over $10.2 million through Prairies Economic Development Canada to revitalize rural areas and communities in Saskatchewan.

Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings announced on Thursday, March 16, as she acknowledged Saskatchewan being a global leader in the said industries and home to some world-class manufacturing companies.

“Whether it is rural farming [and] Indigenous communities, or busy urban areas, Saskatchewan is built on strong agricultural roots,” said Hutchings, who also spoke on behalf of PrairiesCan Minister Dan Vandal.

Vandal, in a statement, added that a dynamic agri-food industry and advanced manufacturing sector are key employers in Saskatchewan and have been significant contributors to the province’s economy.

“Our government is working in partnership with Saskatchewan entrepreneurs so they can share their innovative products and services with the global marketplace, support food security and sustainability, and create good jobs in vibrant communities across the province,” said Vandal.

Hutchings, the MP for Long Range Mountains in Newfoundland and Labrador, was joined by Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. President Mehmet Tulbek and Heidi Dutton from Protein Powered Farms Inc. 

Hutchings said $7.9 million would focus on supporting the province's agricultural, food processing, and manufacturing industries, key employers and significant economic contributors.

The funding will help five high-growth businesses in these sectors to access the resources they need to bring their innovative products and services to new markets.

In addition, $2.3 million will be given to 13 urban, rural, and Indigenous communities to improve their tourism and recreation infrastructures.

The federal investment aims to create jobs and attract people to move back or settle in these areas, which are primarily farming and cattle breeding regions.

“The funding proves candidates did phenomenal work in deciding on these projects… Part of my job as [RED] Minister is to get out and see parts of this magnificent country. See your investments at work and see what they are doing here,” said Hutchings.

“What Heidi and her team are doing shows that the federal government’s investments work in rural Canada. My job is to see the magic of rural Canada and how we grow. Over 30 per cent of our [gross domestic product comes from rural Canada.”

She added that federal investments like this would help boost rural economies in the province, where farming and breeding cattle in farms are the primary sources, and will attract people to either move back or settle in these areas.

“We all know here that rural is magical… I am visiting Saskatchewan. When I am on the road, as I call it, I like to connect with many groups. I like to connect with Indigenous Peoples, businesses, and innovative thinkers,” said Hutchings, who grew up in rural Newfoundland.

“People have great ideas and chat about [them]. Where are those opportunities? How can we all work together to make Saskatchewanians prouder of the area? To find more opportunities for growth in the area.”

Saskatchewan is a global leader in the agricultural and food processing industries and has more than 40% of the cultivated farmlands in the country. It is one of the largest exporters of agri-food products bringing in an estimated annual revenue of $6.8 billion in 2020-2021 from $3.5 billion.

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