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Backgrounder: Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture contributes to economic and community development by promoting the continuing operation and growth of successful, sustainable farming, fishing and aquaculture businesses, and promoting quality in Island primary products. The department's budget is directed to providing quality programs and services in partnership with the industries it serves.

Budget 2005 Highlights
The 2004-05 budget forecast of $33.4 million includes one-time expenditures of $3 million for the waste treatment facility at the new Borden-Carleton beef plant and the second installment of a $1.8 million investment in hooks and shares at the plant.

The department's budget has been reduced by approximately $1 million. The proposed budget estimate for 2005-06 is $28.4 million.

Investments
In the past five years, the Province has contributed $65 million through disaster relief programs. Coupled with revenue foregone through tax exemptions, total support of more than $170 million has been made available to assist farmers through CAIS and previous disaster relief programs.

The department will maintain its commitment to safety net programs. The department's share of payments under the Canadian Agricultural Income Stabilization program, production insurance and other support programs is more than $10 million annually, or more than one-third of the department's total budget.

Programs to protect soil and water quality will be continued. Close to $1.5 million has been allocated to the Sustainable Resources Conservation program for on-farm conservation projects.

Funding for Future Farmers will continue, with provisions for business planning, training and other supports. In addition, $500,000 for skills development is allocated under the Canadian Agriculture Skills Service program.

The department will continue to provide funding for FoodTrust of Prince Edward Island for the ongoing development and marketing of branded products to achieve greater stability and market access to agricultural and fisheries products. Over the next two years, Government will continue to support FoodTrust as it works toward its model of self sufficiency.

The department continues to encourage organic and low input production through support for research, extension and certification.

Cost savings
Support for the post-harvest virus testing program will be continued at a reduced level.

There will be expenditure reductions in Farm Extension Services. The Fur Advance Program is eliminated and the annual grant to the Artificial Breeders Association will be eliminated over the next two years.

The department will continue to work with the industry to further develop aquaculture production with expenditures of approximately $400,000 in shellfish enhancement, technology development and research, sustainable harvesting practices and support for the leasing program.

The department's test production program in fisheries and aquaculture will be terminated, although initiatives on value-added product development will continue to be supported. The department will continue to work closely with other provincial agencies and the industry on fish processing opportunities.

The department will be consulting with the industry to identify other cost savings, working closely with industry partners to ensure that priority areas continue to be addressed in a flexible, coordinated approach and that ensures effectiveness and efficiency.

Contact:
Wayne MacKinnon
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture
902 368 4888
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