WINNIPEG, MANITOBA — An investment of more than C$15 million in research, traceability and product development that will boost the competitive edge Canadian hog producers need to succeed in domestic and international markets was given by the Government of Canada to the Canadian pork industry, announced Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

"Our government is dedicated to helping the pork industry not only recover, but also grow and capture new markets," Mr. Ritz said. "These investments will build competitive advantages for our pork producers through research and development, through a strong traceability program and through the development of a premium product."

The investment will support four projects:

? C$9.5 million for the Swine Cluster to bring together industry, government and scientists to address the research and development priorities of pork producers, including food safety, meat quality and feed input issues.

? C$3.3 million for the Canadian Pork Council to strengthen the national swine traceability system, which is designed to track the movement of hogs across the country.

? C$1.4 million for the Canadian Swine Exporters Association to promote pork in international markets through marketdevelopment, brand building and industry-to-industry trade promotion.

? C$839,480 for the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement to develop methods to predictmarbling in hogs through better technology, genetics and feed, and to promote marbling as a major quality trait for domestic and international markets.

"These projects will get ideas off the drawing board and into the market where they can help our pork producers, processors and exporters improve margins, distinguish their product in the market and grow demand," Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture).