Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was in Saskatoon, Sask., today, to announce $15 million worth of further investments to the agriculture industry from the AgroInnovation Program and the new Growing Forward 2 policy framework.
“Thanks to the commitment to innovation today and over the years, special crops and pulse industries are well-positioned to capture new market opportunities and meet the ongoing demands of an ever-changing global marketplace,” Ritz said. “Today on behalf of Prime Minister Harper and the government of Canada, I’m pleased to announce that we are investing a further $15 million for a new pulse cluster, Ritz explained. “This investment is more than double our previous commitment under the original Growing Forward program.
In a news release sent by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Nick Sekulic, Chair of Pulse Canada stted that “Today’s announcement reflects the strength of the partnership between Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian pulse industry.”
The funding will provide support to Pulse Canada and lead a research cluster of AAFC scientists, industry experts and universities.
“The new cluster will support the development of new pulse varieties and improved agronomic practices, as well as responding to consumer demands here and abroad for healthier foodstuffs,” said Ritz. “The overall goal is to work with pulse growers to strengthen their competitiveness and their overall sustainability.”
According to Ritz, pulses generated $1.7 billion in farm sales in 2012 and were Canada’s third largest export product after wheat and canola. As a part of the initial Growing Forward investment, the pulse research cluster led to the development of a lentil-based sport nutrition bar and narrow-row dry bean production.
The investment announced today will further support responding to healthy-food demands and understanding of health claims linked to pulse consumption, as well as developing pulse varieties and improving agronomic practices.
“Today’s funding announcement is an investment in the future of the pulse industry,” said Randy Froese, treasurer of Pulse Canada and director of the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association in a Pulse Canada release today. “It will help propel us forward by creating new opportunities for pulses in the global food industry.”