Alberta is investing more into agriculture infrastructure across the province.
Premier Jason Kenney made the announcement that along with Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and 10 irrigation districts that are involved – a total of nearly $933 million will be invested in irrigation infrastructure to expand production, create jobs and spur the province’s economic recovery.
Building on last fall’s historic $815-million investment, the organizations are investing another $117.7 million to modernize irrigation infrastructure in southern Alberta.
“This is incredibly good news for farmers and food producers across the province,” Kenney said.
According to the premier, the investment has the potential to create 7,300 permanent jobs and 1,400 construction jobs and contribute up to $477 million to the province’s GDP every year. He said it is the biggest expansion and modernization of Alberta’s irrigation infrastructure in nearly six decades.
“Irrigation is a transformative part of Alberta’s history, and we’re proudly building on that legacy by investing even more in the province’s farmers and food processors,” Kenney said.
“This historic investment will create good jobs and grow even more agricultural possibilities.”
The investments are part of a long-term plan designed to expand irrigation infrastructure to grow primary agricultural production and support a diversified value-added processing industry, while also attracting more than $1.4 billion in new investment and creating 2,000 new jobs by 2023-2024.
The government also hopes to grow primary and value-added agricultural exports to a projected $16 billion by 2023, a 37 per cent growth relative to 2019.
“This is a momentous point in history for Alberta’s agriculture industry, with nearly a billion dollars invested in our farmers, processors and the communities they support,” said Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development in a news release.
“This investment will allow them to make even more high-quality, safe food to help feed the world.”
The irrigation industry generates about $2.4 billion in annual labour income and supports about 56,000 jobs.