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Government of Canada Invests in Research and Innovation for Oil Seed Producers
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, March 2, 2010 - The Government of Canada is investing in research and innovation that will give oil seed producers the tools to protect and build their businesses. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today announced 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.
"The oil seed 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 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."
An investment of $14.5 million will bring together the best scientific expertise for the Canola Cluster to focus research and innovation on three areas: oil nutrition, meal nutrition and production, to enable the industry to expand the profile of canola oils as a healthy oil while increasing the value of the meal. Industry partnership is an important element of this initiative and the Canola Council of Canada will invest another $5 million to help them reach the ambitious growth targets they have set for 2015.
"We welcome these substantial investments from the Government of Canada in the future of these important crops, such as canola," said JoAnne Buth, president of the Canola Council of Canada. "The science clusters demonstrate the value of government, industry and farmers working together to increase agricultural production and demand."
The Cluster will also prove beneficial for the flax industry as it will focus on nutritional benefits of flax for humans and animals. The planned clinical trials are aimed to move the flax industry closer to its goal of attaining health claims in its target markets.
"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."
In addition, $4.6 million will fund research of the Clubroot in Canola project to combat a pathogen that threatens canola production. This project will connect research talent from universities with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's own plant pathologists, and biochemists to develop strategies for preventing the spread of clubroot.
Canola is one of Canada's most valuable single field crops, generating more than $4.9 billion in farm gate receipts in 2008. It accounts for more than 216,000 jobs in Canada in production, transportation, crushing, refining, food production and manufacturing. Flax represents another $346 million in farm gate value.
The Canola Cluster is funded under the Canadian Agri-Science Clusters initiative and the Clubroot in Canola project is funded under the Animal and Plant Health Research initiative, both under the Growing Forward framework.
In addition to Growing Forward, Canada's Economic Action Plan supports agriculture as a core economic driver in this country. The Government of Canada is focused on strengthening the economy, while preparing to pay down the deficit and to create and protect the jobs of the future. Investments in viable market opportunities will help build an even stronger canola and flax industries and Canadian economy.
For more information on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's programs visit www.agr.gc.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
Canola Council of Canada
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