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Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel speaks to the media after the 2019 Alberta Leaders Debate in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday, April 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

CODIE MCLACHLAN/The Canadian Press

Leader Stephen Mandel says an Alberta Party government would create 6,000 new jobs and create a new innovation fund for the province’s agriculture and agri-food industries.

Mandel says his goal upon taking office after the April 16 election would be to boost the value of the industries by $1-billion to $4.5-billion.

He says the new fund would provide $100-million annually, starting this fiscal year, for industry-led projects and increased upgrading of plant-based proteins and biofuels.

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Mandel says he would also focus on developing a new export program to sell more raw and value-added agriculture products.

The party’s farm platform also calls for an update to the Agriculture Financial Services Corp., which provides crop insurance, livestock price insurance, farm loans, commercial loans and farm income disaster assistance.

Mandel says in a release that changing the way agricultural products are grown, raised, processed and sold would create a healthier environment and a stronger economy.

“Albertans are deeply proud of what we grow and make in our province. The agriculture sector has huge growth potential for our province. We must support farmers with smart government support,” he said in the release Monday.

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