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Bison meat export program funded

Plans by a Saskatchewan-based bison producers’ co-operative to expand their meat markets into the Middle East will get some federal funding.

The federal Western Economic Diversification agency will provide $81,207 for Bison Feeder Co-operative of Saskatchewan to set up an “online presence” in the Middle East, expand trade markets to the retail and food service sector and incorporating bison products in “everyday Middle Eastern meals” through education and awareness.

The co-op, which operates out of Canwood, Sask. and markets its members’ products under the name Canadian Prairie Bison, had about 200 producer members operating in the three Prairie provinces and Ontario as of late 2006.

“I attended the Gulfood Show in Dubai earlier this year where I saw first-hand the success bison can have in international markets,” federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a WED release Wednesday.

“The grants received from Western Economic Diversification have helped Canadian Prairie Bison Value Chain initiatives expand into the United Arab Emirates,” Roger Provencher, the co-operative’s marketing manager, said in the same release.

“This expansion is a great opportunity for producers as it increases the demand for high-quality Canadian products.”

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