Protein Industries Canada (PIC) is moving to the second phase of a partnership to improve traceability and marketing opportunities of Canadian plant-based food, feed, and ingredients.

The projects will create a new platform to “enhance production practices and storage and marketing decisions,” combining storage technology with blockchain traceability.

The $17.1 million project will be split between PIC providing 50 per cent and Farmers Edge, OPIsystems, and TrustBIX providing investments of $6 million, $2.2 million and $334,000 respectively.

Farmers Edge will provide the field-level analysis and predictive modeling; OPIsystems’ technology helps producers dry, condition and store grain in ways that optimize quality while reducing energy consumption and spoilage losses; and TrustBIX provides blockchain connectivity between the partners to verify traceability for grain marketing.

“Improving the competitiveness of Canada’s plant-based foods sector includes demonstrating our sustainability efforts and producing our crops in a way that meets our customers’ needs—whether that be domestic or international ingredients and food processors,” says Bill Greuel, CEO of PIC. “Farmers Edge, OPIsystems, and TrustBIX are developing a program that not only helps accomplish that but also connects processors and other buyers directly with the Canadian producers who can provide them with the feedstocks that meet their exact specifications. This is the sort of technology our sector needs — that which meets the needs of every step of our value chain while improving traceability and sustainability to better meet customer expectations.”

The platform’s marketing element will build on traceability work with the Standards Council of Canada, focusing on matching buyers to producers, executing contracts, and searching out or monitoring regulatory and other standards.

“We look forward to continuing this important work with our partners, the federal government and Protein Industries Canada, as we invest through this project to enhance our digital platform,” says Wade Barnes, founder and CEO of Farmers Edge. “Collectively, we’re seizing the opportunity to create a comprehensive program that will ensure high quality crop production and complete traceability from field to market. The opportunity to harness the Farmers Edge expertise in data and AI-driven technologies and apply it to the growers’ and consumers’ benefit is gratifying. Growers will be able to share verified crop records with a simple click, and consumers will gain transparency on the origin of their food, enhancing their level of trust in farms across Canada.”

The project marks Protein Industries Canada’s 18th technology project announcement, and 19th overall. Together with industry, Protein Industries Canada has committed more than $349 million to the Canadian plant-protein sector. They are currently accepting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for both their Technology and Capacity Building programs.

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