FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries will invest more than $37 million in 2016-17 to support growers, processors and producers around the province.

Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet made the announcement today while tabling the department’s budget estimates.

“New Brunswick’s agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture industries create jobs and support the economy,” Doucet said. “Our investments will further support job growth and help these industries to expand, innovate and capitalize on emerging market opportunities around the world.”

Doucet said key initiatives for the coming fiscal year include the implementation of a new local food and beverage strategy that will support farmers, producers and processors in supplying more products to the local market and help them to grow their business.

Growing Forward 2, a five-year policy framework for the agricultural and agri-food sector, will continue to receive funding from the federal and provincial governments as part of a cost-sharing agreement. The program focuses on innovation, competitiveness and market development for Canadian producers and processors.

The provincial government will continue to support marketing opportunities for the seafood industry such as the Seafood Expo North America, a leading trade event held annually in Boston, Mass. The event is expected to attract more than 20,000 buyers and suppliers of fresh, frozen, packaged and value-added seafood products, equipment and services from more than 100 countries.

New Brunswick was the second-largest exporting province in 2013 with more than $1 billion in fish and seafood exports.