Canadian government invests in grain innovation partnership

Two priorities will be boosting corn acreage in Manitoba and exploring functional food and feed opportunities

The Canadian federal and Manitoba provincial governments are joining forces to create a new Grain Innovation Hub, designed to improve production, processing and value-added options for cereals, oilseeds and pulse crops.

The hub will include various levels of government, industry groups, researchers, farm organizations and other stakeholders, in a bid to solidify the province’s place as a leader in grain research, production and processing.

The two levels of government are providing a combined $20 million over five years to fund projects contained under the initiative. Industry is expected to provide additional monies to bring the total investment to over $33 million.

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“Canada continues to be a global leader in agricultural innovation,” said Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a news release. “This investment will help drive the economy through research, development, commercialization, and collaboration right along the value chain, leading to increased productivity and profitability for our producers.”

The hub will concentrate on three specific areas:

  •  The Manitoba Corn Development Initiative which is aimed at increasing total corn acreage across the province.
  •  The Functional Food and Feed Opportunities Project, designed to help turn Manitoba-led research into commercial food-processing investments.
  •  Targeted agri-food research and development.

“There is an opportunity to make Canada a first choice for investment in cereals research and development,” said Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada.

Two projects that are already underway in conjunction with the announcement of the Grain Innovation Hub, include a $1-million investment in agronomic studies on corn, as well as funding to study the effects of different foods on human and animal metabolism.

“By working together strategically, our grains can play a significant role in meeting the dietary and health needs of a growing global population, creating jobs at home and growing the economy,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn.

The province estimates 24,000 Manitobans are directly employed by the agriculture sector.

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