The federal government is offering up to $19 million for the Canola Council of Canada to lead research in partnership with the Flax Council of Canada, industry scientists and universities, a federal release says.
“The oilseed industry is an important driver of Canada’s economy and that’s why our government is making strategic investments to keep our producers on the cutting edge of innovation,” said Agriculture Minister Ritz.
“This research will help our producers protect their crops, build their operations and their profitability, expand their markets, and continue to provide a healthy product for consumers around the world.”
Of the allocation, $14.5 million will go towards agronomic and nutrition research under a new Canola/Flax Agri-Science Cluster.
The federal contribution will be matched by industry and farmers for a total amount of nearly $20 million, a Canola Council of Canada release says.
An additional $4.6 million of government funding will support the Clubroot Risk Mitigation Project, which seeks to identify best management practices and breed clubrootresistant canola varieties. All research funding will help the canola industry increase production to 15 million tonnes by 2015.
“With the Canadian government’s extraordinary investment in agronomic research, we will accomplish our 2015 goal, which is expected to add $12.5 billion annually to Canada’s economy,” said CCC president JoAnne Buth. “And the nutrition studies will further increase demand for canola in markets worldwide.”
The Canola/Flax Agri-Science Cluster will fund production, oil and meal studies of industry-wide benefit that are not already covered by the private sector.
Production research will target ways to improve crop establishment, nutrition and protection; harvest and storage management; integrated crop management; and sustainability.
Nutrition studies will look at canola and flax oils’ impact on heart disease risk markers; the effect of canola oil on the prevention and treatment of insulin resistance, inflammation and obesity; canola oil’s influence on glycemic control and heart disease risk factors in people with Type 2 diabetes as well as on blood vessel function in people with healthy and compromised arteries.
“We already know that canola oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat,” said Buth. “What we don’t know is how canola oil consumption alone may impact the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other diet-related medical conditions.”
Canola meal studies will focus on the best formulations for dairy cow milk production, the impact of high levels of different types of canola meal in swine and poultry feeds, and improving the carbohydrate composition and energy content of canola meal.
The canola industry’s portion of the research funding is derived from CCC core funds as well as SaskCanola, the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and Alberta Canola Producers Commission. The Flax Council of Canada will provide funding and administration for two flax-related nutrition studies.
“The CCC is extremely grateful to the Canadian government for its investment in canola,” Buth concluded. “We expect the research funding to have significant long-term payoff with increased canola production domestically and demand worldwide.”
“The Flax Council of Canada is very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada and the industry to undertake important clinical research on flax in several areas of human health,” said Barry Hall, president of the Flax Council of Canada. “Scientific substantiation of health benefits is a cornerstone in which Canadian flaxseed is marketed globally and the results that will arise from this research will be invaluable to our industry across the value chain.”