Business & Policy
Agricultural products and technology get Harper support
Feb. 23, 2012, Lacombe, AB - Blaine Calkins, Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced Government of Canada support for an initiative that will create new commercial opportunities for Alberta's agricultural sector while helping to attract investment and industry partnerships.
A federal investment of more than $4.4 million through Western Economic Diversification Canada will enable the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund Ltd. to lead an initiative to test and commercialize new products derived from crops and grains. Additional support is also being provided through the Alberta Barley Commission and Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions.
"Our Government is committed to strengthening Western Canada's economic competitiveness by enabling our traditional industries to find innovative ways to add value to their products through new technologies and processes," said MP Calkins. "Today's investment will further support the growth of Alberta's agricultural sector and create jobs by fostering opportunities for industry to attract investment and bring new products to market.
"Through this initiative, the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund will establish and equip a manufacturing facility to produce substances known as crop-based protein and cellulose derivatives. These substances can be used as ingredients for a variety of commercial products.
"Result-orientated research is what the agriculture industry needs," said Matt Sawyer, Chair, Alberta Barley Commission. "This kind of producer investment highlights the value of renewable agricultural products, while raising awareness and creating value for Alberta barley farmers."
This initiative builds on research being conducted through the University of Alberta's Cereal Protein and Cellulose Program, which has resulted in the development of high value, natural industrial products derived from agricultural sources. The new manufacturing facility will partner with commercial manufacturers to assist them with the pilot scale production, testing, and demonstration of these products and technologies. Successful products and technologies will then be licensed to, and manufactured by, industry partners.
"Alberta has the reputation of producing high quality crops that we export across the globe," said Stan Blade, Chief Executive Officer, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. "Our shared investment in this initiative is focused on creating innovative new products from grains and other plant biomass that will enhance value and create new business opportunities for Alberta."
As new products are successfully licensed and manufactured by private sector partners, there may also be increased opportunities to develop manufacturing in Alberta's agricultural sector through the production of crop-based ingredients for commercial applications.
"This initiative will create additional demand for barley and other crops while providing new market and contract growing opportunities for western Canadian farmers," said Doug Walkey, Executive Director, Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund. "The pilot plant is another step leading towards realizing the potential for both branch plants of international companies and the development of new manufacturing companies here on the prairies."
Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.