Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has announced it will invest $6.5 million in cutting-edge research to grow market opportunities for the Canadian organics industry.
The investment will be managed by the Organic Federation of Canada (OFC), and will address the priorities of organic producers. Research will concentrate on soil fertility, grain cropping, greenhouse production and food processing.
The government hopes to create an Organic Science Cluster, bringing together scientific expertise from academia, industry and government to develop more efficient and profitable processes for producers and processors. According to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who made the announcement today in Truro, N.S., the goal is to develop expertise that will deliver the most profitable, competitive edge to farmers, while helping to develop a recognizable, high-quality brand that will establish Canada as a leader in the organics industry.
“The Organic Science Cluster project, funded by the Government of Canada, is a major event in the development of this relatively new but rapidly growing segment of the Canadian agriculture – organic food,” says OFC president Ted Zettel. As of 2008 sales of organic food products in Canada had reached over $2 billion.
An additional $2.2 million towards the project came from industry with the help of the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada, in partnership with the OFC. The Organic Cluster is delivered by the Growing Forward framework under the Agri-Innovations program.