The federal government has announced more than $300 million to Ontario’s flue-cured tobacco producers, including $286 million for a Tobacco Transition Program to help them exit the tobacco industry, and $15 million for community development initiatives.
The announcement was made today by the federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz at the Delhi Tobacco Exchange Auction.
“The … government has been committed to finding a responsible solution,” Ritz said. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: the… government is committed to putting farmers first.”
The Tobacco Transition Program will provide transition and exit assistance to producers interested in exiting the sector. Payments will be based on proposals by the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board and accepted by the government. The program will provide federal funding of $1.05 per pound per quota, which is consistent with the federal portion of the Board’s latest request.
“Through our work with the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers’ Marketing Board our government has produced real results and shown our commitment to farmers,” said local MP and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley. “Tobacco producers and their families will be able to bring closure to what has been a very stressful time. This program is available to help producers exit the industry, transition to other crops, or find new opportunities outside agriculture.”
The $15 million being provided for community development is to help communities transition to a non-tobacco based economy.