Canada and B.C. support innovation and competitiveness in agriculture

Innovation helps keep the Canada and B.C. agrifood industry competitive and profitable

Ministry of Agriculture

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have renewed a program to support the B.C. agrifood industry’s efforts to increase its competitiveness and sustainability, federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and B.C. Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm announced July 25.

“Innovation helps keep the Canada and B.C. agrifood industry competitive and profitable,” said Ritz. “Our government is committed to supporting programs like this to promote the long-term economic success of producers by helping bring new farm products and technologies to market.”

“This program offers B.C.’s producers and processors opportunities to use technology to improve their operations and earn new dollars,” said Pimm. “Projects that stimulate sector-wide innovation support our government’s goal of the B.C. agrifood industry becoming a $14-billion-dollar-a-year industry by 2017.”

The Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program is a $3-million, two-year  commitment through the new Growing Forward 2 agreement. This cost-shared program will allow industry to access funding to support the acceleration of innovation. The late-stage research or pilot projects must lead to commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, technologies and practices. For example, projects that could be considered include the following:

* Advancements in plant, animal and food science.

* Energy and waste management.

* New product development and commercialization.

* Improvements in soil, water and air quality.

* Climate-change adaptation.

To be eligible, applicants must be appropriately registered, licensed and/or certified to conduct business in British Columbia. Eligible applicants may include the following:

* B.C. agrifood producers and processors.

* Industry associations and organizations.

* Retail and food-service businesses.

* Input, technology and support service providers.

* Academic institutions and/or other organizations and private-sector businesses.

* Regional districts and local governments.

The Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program will be administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. Additional program information and application forms are available at: http://iafbc.ca/agri-innovation.htm

The new five-year Growing Forward 2 agreement is a $3-billion investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development, which includes $2 billion cost-shared on a 60:40 basis for programs delivered by provinces and territories (a 50-per-cent increase in cost-shared funding), as well as $1 billion for federal-only strategic initiatives.

For more information on federal Growing Forward 2 programs, visit: www.agr.gc.ca/GrowingForward2

Information on Growing Forward 2 programs in British Columbia is available at: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apf/GF2/GF2.html