Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We are here today to discuss the 2023‑24 main estimates for the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
These main estimates total more than $1.8 billion, for this fiscal year alone, but I expect total expenditures for 2023‑24 to exceed $3.8 billion. These investments illustrate yet again the government's commitment to helping Canadian farmers and food processors manage risk and become more resilient. Through these estimates, we are supporting farmers as they manage the unprecedented risks they have faced in recent years, with $769 million in funding for business risk management programs.
Keep in mind that these estimates are merely a snapshot in time. Additional investments in the year ahead will demonstrate our ongoing support for the sector, including continued funding for business risk management programs, and the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement, supported by a 25% increase in cost-shared programming funded by the federal, provincial and territorial governments.
I also want to highlight that, in budget 2023, we committed to helping farmers deal with the significant financial challenges they face, by increasing the interest-free limit for loans under the advance payments program from $250,000 to $350,000 for the 2023 program year. Combined with last year's increase to the interest-free limit, this measure will save farmers a total of nearly $84 million over two years. This further increase means that farmers will have access to the additional cash flow they need to deal with higher interest rates and input costs.
In addition to supporting economic sustainability, the funding requested through these main estimates supports agricultural resilience and the transition to sustainable agriculture, with nearly $260 million in funding for the agricultural clean technology program and the agricultural climate solutions program. That funding is part of the $1.5‑billion envelope for climate-smart agriculture programming. The investment includes the on-farm climate action fund, which helps thousands of farmers across the country adopt cover cropping, nutrient management and rotational grazing practices.
These main estimates also attest to the government's strong support for supply management, with more than $157 million in funding to help dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors cope with the impacts of trade deals with Europe and the trans-Pacific region. That investment is part of our overall commitment to provide $4.8 billion to supply-managed sectors to offset the impact of the three trade agreements, including the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, or CUSMA.
The support we are providing is already helping Canadian egg farmers invest in new heating, lighting and ventilation systems to improve animal welfare and save energy.
Since we last met, Mr. Chair, we have also launched our federal programs under the sustainable Canadian agricultural partnership, which will support key priorities for the sector over the next five years, including research and innovation across the value chain, action on climate change and the environment, expanding markets for Canadian exports, creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and public trust.
On the international stage, we continue to help our producers and processors to maximize their opportunities in the global marketplace. Last year, Canada's agriculture and food exports reached a record of close to $93 billion, not far from the target of $95 billion set by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers for 2028. That's an amazing achievement, given the many challenges farmers are facing.
To help our producers and processors diversify their markets, we will open Canada's first-ever agriculture and agri-food office in the Indo-Pacific region. The region holds significant opportunities for our agri-food sector, and it will account for two-thirds of the global middle class by 2030. Last month, I was able to strengthen our agricultural trade relationships in the region with a mission to Japan and Singapore. I can tell you that the customers there are looking for more of our world-class Canadian agri-food products.
Of course, we continue to strengthen our relationship with our largest trading partner. Last week, I was in Washington and met with Secretary Vilsack. We renewed our commitment to priorities on resilient supply chains and on making sure that trade is based on science and rules. I also raised our industry's concerns that the voluntary “Product of U.S.A.” labelling requirements could restrict trade and disrupt supply chains.
Mr. Chair, there is no question that the sector faces significant challenges, but the sector is strong, growing, and has a bright outlook for the future. Our farmers are, and will continue to be, leaders in sustainable production and innovation. We will continue to work together to help farmers keep their businesses strong and growing through investments such as the main estimates that we are discussing today.