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Combining Aid and Trade for a Stronger Food and Beverage Sector

28/02/2013


​​Canada’s foreign aid policy is shifting. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) plans to increase collaborations with Canadian corporations, taking a more active role in sustainable development. This could mean new opportunities for those living in poverty and for Canada’s food and beverage sector.

An expression of the government’s new approach is the new Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development. Its mandate is to build on Canadian leadership in natural resource management and deliver knowledge on regulation and oversight to help resource-rich developing countries create jobs and economic growth.

What about a similar model to build on Canada’s considerable expertise in food and beverage processing?

This recipe for change is timely given rapidly increasing populations and food prices in poor countries. A proposed Canadian International Institute for Food Manufacturing and Development would help developing countries while strengthening Canada’s International food manufacturing capabilities.

Canada is in a strong position to do this; as a recent MNP report undertaken for the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors clearly confirmed, food and beverage processing is one of the largest and most far reaching manufacturing sectors in Canada.

Aid Goals and SR&ED

Adapting the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program towards aid goals could mobilize food manufacturers to share CIDA’s interest in collaborating. Canadian companies undertaking qualified R&D to develop innovative agri-food products that can address developing countries’ food and beverage manufacturing needs, as specified by CIDA, could receive accelerated tax incentives.

By working to harness the power of Canadian food companies and foster collaboration between business, government and NGOs, Canada can deliver sustainable opportunities in developing countries and build Canadian innovation, supply chains, exports and foreign joint venture capabilities.

Aid & Trade Are Not Mutually Exclusive

They can be complimentary and the proposed Canadian International Institute for Food Manufacturing and Development would provide the focus and forum to move beyond preconceived biases. Aid and trade cooperation will fulfill Canada’s commitment to aid delivery, while helping Canadian food manufacturers innovate and compete.

To learn more about this innovative recipe for change, read my article, Recipe for Change, published in Food in Cana​da.