Federal Ag Minister Gerry Ritz was in Saskatoonto announced the government's plans to renew the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program or CAAP for another 5 years.

Under the program, over $50 million will be available for investment in industry-led projects that will help the ag sector seize opportunities and respond to emerging issues.

Ritz says the agriculture sector has benefited from the program and he estimates the return on investment is about 20 to 1.

"We were completely shut out of the European market when it came to Triffid in the flax," he says. "We've regained that market. At the same time, while you're waiting for that market to reopen, you'd redouble your efforts looking at new markets. We've done that with China. There's every indication that they're going to become one of our major buyers in the near future. They're looking at some of the work that we've done on Omega-3 in eggs and in pork and so on, using flax to give us that valuable addition."

The previous five-year CAAP program expired March 31st.

Will Hill, the President and CEO of the Flax Council of Canada, sees some potential opportunities to help the industry.

"I think US health claim might be an opportunity that we want to pursue and receive funding there. Sustainability, there's some work that can be done, I think for the total industry in terms of sustainability, because that's an emerging issue that has been struggling to find a box to sit in."

Under the last program, The Flax Council of Canada received $4.3 million to work on re-opening international markets in the European Union, Japan and Brazil following the Triffid scare in 2009.

Renewal of the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program for another 5 years has pleased the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

Executive Director Carl Potts says they are anxious to see the details, adding he feels it will help them expand their opportunities.

"In areas related to health claims related to pulses," says Potts, "the increased use of pulses in further processed food products - flours, fractions, that sort of work - is an emerging area and a continuing area that we're focusing on going forward, so that could very well be an area that we choose to focus on for CAAP-related funding going forward."

Potts says they've done some work on pulse flour and see it as a major market opportunity.

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