North

N.W.T. government announces $5.6M for agriculture projects

Agriculture groups looking to expand their business now have the opportunity to apply for funding.

Minister hopes money will help improve equipment, skills and programs in territory

Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Wally Schumann said he wants to see the investment help build skills among local growers and processors. (Randall Mackenzie/CBC)

Agriculture groups in the Northwest Territories looking to expand their business now have the opportunity to apply for new funding.

The territorial government announced on Friday $5.6 million toward agriculture projects in the North as part of the national Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

The main goal is to allow farmers to expand and commercialize their gardens.

Wally Schumann, minister for Industry, Tourism and Investment, made the announcement in Hay River, N.W.T.

He said he wants to see the investment help build up more skills among local growers and processors, improve equipment and programs, as well as help make food available longer with better storage systems.

"Locally, I met a few people that are looking at different things outside of what we see as the norm of a garden growing operation. I had an individual come up to me, he was talking about a large potato and storage facility in Hay River," said Schumann.

Northern growers and operators have expressed frustration with trying to access funds through the previous program, called Growing Forward.

Kevin Wallington, with sales and marketing for Polar Egg in Hay River, acknowledged the difficulty some agriculture organisations face in the North.

"I know there have been challenges for many people to access and to understand what funding is available and what could be used," said Wallington.

The territory is home to roughly 40 agriculture businesses and producers, according to the government's news release.

Schumann said people who want to apply and access the funding can do so on the department's website or visit one of their regional offices.

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