Last week, the federal government announced three new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-based programs under the Growing Forward 2 banner — AgriInnovation, AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness. While the press release outlines some details about the programs, the supplied information was a little light. RealAgriculture.com asked AAFC for further details. Below is the Q and A exchange (unedited).
Q1. What type of project or initiative may be funded under each of these 3 programs?
A: The three new federal programs will come into effect on April 1, 2013. The AgriInnovation Program is accepting applications now to give applicants sufficient time to pull together what can sometimes be complex proposals.
Details about the AgriMarketing and AgriCompetitiveness Programs are being finalized and will be available early in the new year.
Here is more program-specific information:
The AgriInnovation Program
The AgriInnovation Program is designed to accelerate the pace of innovation by supporting research and development activities and facilitating the demonstration, commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, technologies, processes, practices and services.
The AgriInnovation Program supports the following industry-led streams:
· Industry-led Research and Development: The objective of this stream is to support pre-commercialization research, development and knowledge transfer leading to innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-based practices, processes and products. This stream may provide non-repayable contributions to approved applicants, and/or access to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research scientists and experts for knowledge transfer.
· Commercialization: The objective of this stream is to facilitate the demonstration, commercialization and adoption of innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services, through repayable investments. Funding is designed to support and reduce the financial risk associated with late-stage activities on the innovation continuum.
For more information visit www.agr.gc.ca/AgriInnovation.
The AgriMarketing Program
The AgriMarketing Program will invest in the following:
· Projects that enhance the sector’s access to international markets by differentiating and promoting Canadian products and sectors, and providing market development tools that are critical to competing in an ever-changing global marketplace; and
· Projects that help the sector develop assurance systems and standards that give Canadian products a competitive advantage through credible quality and health claims, including food safety and traceability systems.
The AgriCompetitiveness Program
The AgriCompetitiveness Program will make directed investments that will help the sector adapt to rapidly changing and emerging global and domestic opportunities and issues, respond to market trends and enhance business and entrepreneurial capacity.
Q2. In light of recent funding announcements, is the $3 billion that is quoted all new money, or has some already been ear marked for these projects?
Growing Forward 2, which comes into effect in April of 2013, represents a $3 billion investment over five years in strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness and market development. The investment includes $2 billion for cost-shared strategic initiatives (representing a 50% increase from Growing Forward), plus approximately $1 billion for federal strategic initiatives.
Q3. Of the three new programs, do any of them of general equivalents under the existing Growing Forward framework? Is this all focused at an industry level or is there a way farmers can participate in these programs? How?
A: Yes, there is continuity between the federal-only programs under the existing Growing Forward framework and the three new programs under the new Growing Forward 2 framework. For example,
The new AgriInnovation program under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework builds on the success of Growing Forward’s:
· Canadian Agri-Science Clusters
· Developing Innovative AgriProducts (DIAP) initiative
· Agricultural Innovation Program
* These programs end on March 31, 2013.
The new Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation program will make strategic investments in a broader range of initiatives and activities in support of the innovation pillar under the new 2013-18 policy framework.
Similarly, the new AgriMarketing program builds on the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative and the current AgriMarketing program that both end on March 31, 2013. Projects that were eligible under those programs may be eligible under the new AgriMarketing Program. The new AgriMarketing Program will make strategic investments in a broader array of initiatives and activities, including ones that enhance Canada’s food safety and traceability systems.
Each of these programs will have specific applicant eligibility requirements, and in some cases farming operations that are cooperatives or incorporated may apply to the new federal programs, although most investments are targeted to the agri-based industry and the agriculture sector as a whole. Farmers will benefit from the tools and resources that will be created through these investments in the sector, helping them stay ahead of the ever-changing demands of consumers.