French Company Roquette to Build $400 Million Pea Processing Plant in Manitoba

The chairman and CEO for French food ingredient company Roquette were in Winnipeg on Wednesday to announce plans for a $400 million pea processing plant to be built near Portage la Prairie, Man.

Coinciding with Global Pulse Day, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Agriculture Minister Ralph Eichler hosted the announcement at the Manitoba Legislative Building.

The new plant “will be the largest dedicated to pea protein processing in the world,” said Roquette chair Edouard Roquette.

Construction is scheduled to begin just west of Portage on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway before the end of 2017. Once open, it’s expected to employ 150 people with an annual payroll of $9 million, noted Pallister, describing it as “one of the largest private investments” in Manitoba’s history.

Roquette says it plans process more than 100,000 tons per year starting in 2019.

While pea production in Manitoba pales in comparison with Saskatchewan, the availability of hydroelectric power, the logistical position, and municipal infrastructure circumstances were cited as some of the factors in the decision to build near Portage.

Roquette CEO Jean-Marc Gilson said they started looking for a place to locate a pea plant in North America about 18 months ago, with a site visit taking place last summer.

“We investigated many sites — more than 40 sites — and at the end of the day we zoomed in on Portage because we found great access to raw materials, a very well-educated workforce, access to renewable energy, it’s easy to ship from and the really great relationship and business-friendly environment,” Gilson told RealAgriculture, noting they hope to work with local farmers to increase pea production.

Byproduct from the plant could potentially be used as feed for hog production in southern Manitoba.

Founded in 1933 and headquartered in Lestrem, France, Roquette is a family-owned business that produces starch and plant-based specialty food ingredients. The company employs more than 8,000 people worldwide and operates in more than 100 countries.

Roquette CEO Jean-Marc Gilson discusses why they chose to build this pea plant at Portage:

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