The Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) have launched the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) to develop Saskatchewan-led solutions to feed a growing world population.
With initial commitments of up to $35 million from PotashCorp and $15 million from the province over the next seven years, the institute will apply Saskatchewan’s unique resources, innovation and expertise to address the increasing global demand for safe, reliable food.
The institute will be based at the University of Saskatchewan, a world-renowned centre of excellence in agriculture and food-system related research. It will build on Saskatchewan’s existing strength in crop production systems through new investments in technological, economic, nutritional and environmental improvements to the food supply system at home and around the world. It will take a strategic approach to the food supply system – for example, breeding for higher yield, improved nutrition and better processing traits, looking at how soil quality affects the nutritional value of crops, and adapting prairie zone crops to available soil and water.
With today’s complex global food system, the research leadership the new institute will provide is urgently needed to develop not just the new science and technologies to increase food production and nutrition, but to impact the policy agenda so that changes can take place to improve how the various parts of the food system interact.
Focusing on crops grown in Saskatchewan as well as those grown in many other parts of the world such as wheat, lentils, peas and canola — essential sources of food for a significant portion of the world’s population — the institute will develop transferable solutions that can be applied to relevant regions and partnerships around the world.
The partners have signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining the institute’s mandate, funding, structure and governance. A search for the institute’s initial executive director and CEO is underway.