Dot-connecting and investments into value-added processing — a LIVE! Q&A with Bill Greuel


Bill Greuel of Protein Industries Canada joins Shaun Haney for today’s LIVE! to talk about increasing ingredient manufacturing and food processing capacity in western Canada.

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  • Presentation to the standing committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food last week
  • Questions to Greuel from members of parliament? Interprovincial trade barriers, export market opportunities
  • 2.3 million are employed in Agriculture and Agri-Food. Second biggest contributor to GDP
  • Challenges are around the perception of agriculture; the idea that it’s overalls and pitchforks
  • Everyone seems to ask: how do we get the government to really, truly listen?
  • Honing in on making the case better and stronger. Showing tangible steps towards delivering on investments
  • Are we doing our best to putting the “Barton Report” into action? Yes, and no.
  • $153 million investment by the government into the ag sector
  • Need a lot of capital to float into the ag sector. Industry has to step up too
  • PIC supercluster objective: grow the value-added processing sector in western Canada. No longer ship raw commodities. Instead, value-added ingredients and someday end-consumer products.
  • Crop production is steadily increasing in western Canada. If we start value-added processing, we’re still going to need ports, rail-lines, etc.
  • Value-added processing will help insulate our economy from trade disruptions
  • Lags in science and innovation? Investments just aren’t up to par compared to other countries. We’re behind
  • Long-term investment chunk has to come from private sector
  • “Dot-connector”; the idea of putting two companies together in a research project is more like a 1 + 1 = 3 approach
  • Take the breeding company and put them together with processors, can make a feedback loop to improving that product
  • Why do we need an entity like PIC to distribute these funds?
  • Collaboration is really easy to say and hard to do
  • Protein isolates from canola and pea, value chain producing consumer packaged goods at the end, but supplied and manufactured all around Winnipeg
  • 25 projects in the hopper, over 80 concepts that were submitted
  • How do you judge success of the project? Five-year time frame, then a long-term measurement
  • Want to see companies collaborating and acting differently
  • Announcement coming tomorrow! (The 14th project announcement)
  • Intellectual property, how is that handled by PIC?
  • Does PIC ever get phone calls asking “How do you do this?”
  • Is the PIC on track for funding its projects and fulfilling its objectives?
  • What Bill’s learned in the two years on the job, is that there’s no silver bullet.
  • Processing capacity is going to be built within the next decade. Future $85 to $130 billion dollar industry in alternatives to meat

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