Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn have announced an investment of nearly $380,000 for the McCain Foods potato processing plant in Carberry, Man. The investment is aimed at increasing efficiency, reducing waste and supporting the sustainable growth of Manitoba’s potato industry.
The governments’ investment, provided under Manitoba’s Growing Forward 2 – Growing Value program, will be used to install new and innovative equipment at the Carberry facility. The plant processes about 430 million pounds of Manitoba-grown potatoes every year, mostly into french fries. The upgrades will reduce potato and canola oil waste by 900,000 pounds and 800,000 pounds per year, respectively.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadian food processors must continually adapt and upgrade to remain competitive. This investment will help Manitoba potato processors deliver innovative food grown in sustainable ways to Canadians and global consumers,” said MacAulay.
The governments’ investment represents half of the total equipment cost. McCain Foods Canada has invested more than $30 million in other upgrades to the Carberry potato processing facility over the last 10 years, including a $23 million waste water upgrade. The plant employs about 220 people, with another 10 positions to be created over the next three years as a result of the new equipment.
Manitoba is Canada’s second-largest potato producer behind P.E.I., supporting 120 potato growers and employing 1,500 full-time and casual workers. In 2013, 70,000 acres of potatoes were grown in Manitoba valued at about $192 million. Most of the potatoes processed in Manitoba are exported to the United States, making this crop a valuable trade commodity.
“In order to stay competitive, it’s important to have equipment that runs efficiently, allowing maximum productivity and minimal waste,” said Dean Melnic, plant manager at the Carberry facility. “We export 80 per cent of the products we make at our plant, so investments in equipment help support our employees, local growers, and the surrounding communities.”
Kostyshyn agreed: “This strategic investment is good news for the community of Carberry and for the future of Manitoba’s potato industry. Reducing waste and increasing efficiency will help ensure Manitoba-grown potatoes continue to be a top choice for processors and consumers.”
The Manitoba agricultural minister also noted this investment supports the province’s goal of creating a $5.5 billion food processing industry by 2022, which is currently valued at $4.95 billion.