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IAF gives over $1.5M to B.C. projects


November 6, 2012
By Dave Harrison

Nov. 6, 2012, Victoria, B.C. – The Investment Agriculture Foundation of
B.C. (IAF) will contribute up to $1,529,810 toward 29 new projects to
help the B.C. agri-food industry seize opportunities and explore
innovative ideas.

Nov. 6, 2012, Victoria, B.C. – The Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF) will contribute up to $1,529,810 toward 29 new projects to help the B.C. agri-food industry seize opportunities and explore innovative ideas.

Funding for these projects is provided by IAF through programs it delivers on behalf of the federal and provincial governments. Projects include research into invasive plant reduction, pest management, novel crop development and adaptation, biosecurity and emergency planning, among others.

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Among the approved projects:

• Kwantlen Polytechnic University
 ($9,180): A growing global demand for alternative sources of natural rubber and inulin has prompted field trials in other provinces to develop an herbaceous rubber-bearing plant as a commercial crop.

Recently, a second herbaceous species containing even higher levels of rubber has been discovered, though there has been no development of this species and the plant material is currently unavailable in Canada.

This project will help Kwantlen Polytechnic University become the first to establish germplasm for this species in Canada, and to research and develop it as a potential new commercial crop within B.C.

• Invasive Species Council of B.C.
 ($107,000): The Invasive Species Council of B.C. and the B.C. Landscape & Nursery Association are partnering to pilot a program for building leadership to reduce invasive plants across the horticulture industry supply chain.

With the guidance of a Horticulture Invasive Plant Advisory Committee, the two organizations will work with all sectors to develop voluntary codes of conduct and a recognition and certification pilot for horticulture industry groups to demonstrate their commitment to combating invasive plants.

The project will also provide recommendations for implementing a province-wide program to reduce inappropriate use of invasive plant varieties in specific areas within the industry.

• B.C. Agriculture Council
 ($40,932): The Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program helps increase the labour supply for B.C. producers through access to Mexican workers.

However, issues such as inadequate housing threaten to jeopardize the program and undermine the B.C. agriculture sector as a whole.

This project will pilot a peer-reviewed issues line for complaints by workers or observers, followed by an evaluation to monitor the issues line, resolution of issues, interim inspection results, and make recommendations for improvements.


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