Ideas for new products or production methods from Canadian farmers, processors and researchers may be eligible for a share of $158 million in federal funds to get them market-ready.
Ottawa is “helping farmers put more black ink on the bottom line by bringing new products to new markets,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in a release Friday announcing the Growing Canadian Agri-Innovations Program.
“For example, future demand for canola is increasing and that means we have to start researching new crop rotations and production processes to make sure Canadian farmers can make the most of growing opportunities.”
Under the program, funded through the federal/provincial Growing Forward ag policy framework, the government would also work with farm leaders and experts to “analyze potential future trends in consumer demands and technologies to ensure Canadian agriculture is well placed to make the most of new opportunities.”
“New ideas depend on new investments from the private sector and this program will help farmers and processors build strong business cases to attract that vital support,” the government said.
The program, to be delivered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, includes four initiatives:
- Agri-Science Clusters, supporting government, industry and academic research and development activities aimed at bringing new products, practices and processes closer to the market;
- Developing Innovative Agri-Products, backing industry-led projects to “bridge the gap between ideas and discoveries and products in the marketplace;”
- Agri-Foresight, to help develop strategies that “anticipate possible challenges and opportunities” by identifying “strengths, weaknesses and gaps” in the ag sector; and
- Promoting Agri-Based Investment Opportunities, to encourage private investment in development of ag products and processes by “creating networks of investors and businesspeople.”
“Farmers rely on innovation to build their businesses,” Wetaskiwin, Alta. MP Blaine Calkins said in the government’s release. “These initiatives will support the innovation process at key points to ensure that new products make it to market.”