Canadian farmers will now benefit from new research in crop science with the support of the Harper Government. Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell) and MP Dave Mackenzie (Oxford), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced this week an investment of US$7 million for the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance to lead a research cluster to help producers better compete in global markets.
“Innovation drives the competitiveness of the field crop industry and our Government is committed to helping producers find new ways to keep this sector strong and profitable,” said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux. “We’re working closely with industry and making key investments to open new export opportunities for our grains and oilseeds producers here in Canada and around the world.”
This investment of US$7 million will bring together scientific expertise for research in key areas such as developing innovative field crop varieties with the specific traits requested by consumers and processors. These improvements will help producers reduce their input costs, increase efficiencies and develop a higher quality product that is more resilient to pests. The project will also help producers better respond to consumer demand for foods with specific nutritional benefits and increase their competitiveness in global markets.
“The Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) thanks the federal government for the increased investment in this important project,” says Crosby Devitt, Chair of CFCRA. “This five-year plant breeding initiative addresses the unique climates and specialised markets across Canada. We look forward to the development and release of improved corn, soybean, barley, and oat varieties desired in our regions and down the value chain.”
The research cluster will support what industry has identified as the highest priority research, done by the country’s leading experts. While industry leadership and investment is key to the success of the initiative, by tapping into the expertise of scientists based in research centres across the country, the cluster will benefit from their work in developing improved varieties that address the needs of the market for value-added traits that deliver higher levels of nutrition and improved processing attributes. AAFC researchers will collaborate on several priorities, including providing Canada’s field crop growers of soybeans, corn, oats and barley with enhanced varieties with higher yield, lower input, and greater disease resistance.
The field crop sector is a strong economic driver in Canada. Last year, the corn and soybean industry brought in US$4.5 billion to the farm gate and generated over US$2 billion in exports. This key sector provides the most common source of feed for Canada’s livestock, poultry and dairy sectors. The cluster is supported under Growing Forward 2, as part of the AgriInnovation Program, a five-year initiative of up to $698 million meant to serve as a catalyst for innovation by supporting research, development, commercialisation, and adoption of innovative products, technologies, and services. The terms of this investment are subject to the signing of contribution and collaboration agreements.
The new Growing Forward 2 policy framework, which came into effect on April 1, 2013, will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programmes, governments have agreed to invest more than US$3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development.
Please visit Growing Forward 2 for more information on the agreement and the AgriInnovation Programme.