05/15/2012 07:48 EDT | Updated 07/15/2012 05:12 EDT

Ritz says end of CWB monopoly creates opportunities, despite pasta plant delay

REGINA - Despite news that a new pasta plant on the Prairies is delayed, Ottawa says ending the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing monopoly will create more opportunities for farmers and processors.

Alliance Grain Traders said this week that its plans to build a $50-million pasta-processing plant in Regina are on hold.

The company wants to time to monitor developments in the North American grain industry, including the end of board's monopoly and the proposed sale of Regina-based grain handler Viterra.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says in an email to The Canadian Press that many reasons, including global economic instability, have made it difficult for industry to grow.

But he adds the government is pleased that Alliance Grain has committed to having shovels in the ground in 2013.

The plant was announced last fall with great fanfare as Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in a pulse processing facility in Regina.