Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has been working in close proximity to the Canadian Ministers of Agriculture on discussions regarding a new five-year Growing Forward 2 policy framework to help expand hundreds of new agricultural businesses through Canadian Government grants and loans. The new agreement looks to replace the previous Growing Forward Initiative by offering new Canadian Government funding initiatives and a prospective 50% increase in cost-share government grants for small business development projects.
Funding for Agricultural Small Business Innovation, Competitiveness, and Market Development.
The Growing Forward 2 policy framework intends to foster innovation, market development and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture by providing Canadian Government grants and funding incentives for sector growth and investment. Programs and incentives will be chosen by the federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Agriculture based on their ability to help the Canadian Agricultural sector and provide businesses with a competitive edge. Programs are expected to launch in April 2013, once the existing Growing Forward policy framework expires.
Potential Changes to Previous Government Grants for Small Business
At the moment, it is uncertain whether the programs established under the current Growing Forward framework will be replenished, altered, or phased out. Some of the programs that are currently under review include:
- Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) – A two-stream program; 1) Stream A provides non-repayable grant funding for R&D into new products and technologies related to the agri-food sector, 2) Stream B provides repayable government funding for commercializing an innovative agri-food based product or technology.
- AgriProcessing Initiative (API) – Provided up to $2M or 50% of eligible costs for Canadian agri-food processors to purchase and install new machinery and equipment.
- AgriMarketing Program – Provided up to $50k in non-repayable grant funding to a max of 50% of the eligible expenses for a competitive marketing campaign promoting the exports of Canadian agriculture and food products.
- Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP) – Supports business development and expansion by providing up to $100k in non-repayable grants for expenditures include capital equipment and new lease or facility rental.
Most of these programs are no longer accepting new applications for projects. Many of the AAFC programs are awaiting the release of the new Growing Forward 2 program before additional funds may be released.
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