Manitoba farmers and food processing companies considering a shift to certified organic production can have part of their certification fees covered under a new provincial program.
The province on Tuesday pledged about $338,000 over three years for the Manitoba Organic Transition program.
The program is meant to reimburse farmers
and processors for the fees charged by qualified organic
certification agencies during the transition to organic
certification. Farmers and processors can get reimbursement of two-thirds of the cost of their transition fees,
up to an $800 maximum per year.
Farmers and processors who start the transition process in 2008
or 2009 can get up to $800 per year for two years to cover those certification fees, while those already in their second year
of the transition process can be reimbursed of up to
$800 per year for two years (covering the second and third
years). Producers going into their third year of transition in
2008 can get one year of funding.
Manitoba is the only Prairie province to offer this type of
organic incentive program to its farmers and processors, Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release. The province has almost 100,000 acres in organic crops and about 300 certified organic producers.
“Retail sales of organic products are increasing at 15 to 20 per
cent per year, opening the doors to a range of new opportunities
for Manitoba producers and processors,” Wowchuk said.
The program would apply to anyone interested in securing certified organic status for cropland, pasture, livestock operations or processing
facilities, she said.
The deadline to apply for funding for 2008 is Nov. 30, the province said. Application forms and more information are available online.