Funding to support innovation in northern agriculture
By Brandi Cowen
The northern agriculture and agri-food sector is getting a boost from a Government of Canada investment of up to $86,616 to develop new economic opportunities.
The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, announced support for Agrinova to develop an innovation strategy for northern agriculture.
“This investment is helping develop a tailored strategy to address the challenges faced by Canada’s northern agriculture sector,” said Minister Lebel. “This support will lead to better produce and promote agricultural products with traits that help them thrive in northern climates.”
The funding is helping Agrinova, an agricultural technology transfer centre, to identify the distinct needs of the agri-food industry in northern climates and to develop targeted regional research programming. The goal is to bring together partners from industry, academia and the science community to increase capacity and create new economic opportunities for local producers and promote products with traits that help them thrive in northern climates.
Canada’s different agro-climatic zones present unique challenges for agricultural producers and processors. The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is in a position to take on a leadership role in developing processes and approaches for northern producers that can serve as models for other regions.
“Financial support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fondation de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and Créneau AgroBoréal enables Agrinova to be actively involved in developing a program and research areas that deal with the distinct aspects of northern agriculture, as well as fostering collaboration among players in the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region that wish to take on a dynamic leadership role in this field,” said Richard Wieland, acting executive director of Agrinova. “Furthermore, this support makes it possible to strengthen the region’s expertise in agricultural research and innovation and to help create new knowledge to promote the development and sustainability of the region’s agri-food industry.”
This project is funded under the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2011. The AIP is part of the Government’s commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector.
In September 2012, federal, provincial, and territorial ministers of agriculture reached agreement on the five-year Growing Forward 2 policy framework. The new agreement will continue to drive innovation and long-term economic growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development.
For more information about the AIP and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit www.agr.gc.ca. For more information on Growing Forward 2, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/growingforward2.