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B.C. touted as world leader in agricultural technology

March 31, 2023  By Top Crop Manager

A forum of leaders in B.C. agricultural technology outlined how the province could become a world leader in advanced food production.

As reported by the Vancouver Sun, a panel was brought together on March 28 during a Conversations Live project hosted by Stuart McNish to examine changes in food production and how technology is critical to meeting future consumption.

According to a recent UN report, the world will need 50 per cent more food by 2050 while climate change will decrease global yields by 25 per cent in the same time frame — meaning agricultural technology must advance to help meet demand.


The panel was comprised of Peter Dhillon, chair of Ocean Spray and member of the B.C. Food Security Task Force; Evan Fraser, director of the Arrell Food Institute and professor at the University of Guelph; Karn Manhas, CEO of Terramera, a company that develops plant-based alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers; Philip Steenkamp, president of Royal Roads University; Federica Di Palma, chief scientific officer and vice-president of research and innovation, Genome B.C. and Bahram Rashti, co-founder and CEO of Fresh Green Farms and UP Vertical Farms.

“Not too long ago we weren’t talking about this, but food security has become top of mind in recent times. Food security is national security now,” Dhillon said.

He said B.C. can be a world leader in agritech if academia, policymakers and farmers work together. The B.C. Food Security Task Force is advocating for the establishment of an incubation/acceleration strategy for the agritech sector and creating an agritech institute in B.C.

Examples of agritech include seed genomics, climate-controlled greenhouses, sensor-monitored growing technologies and advanced refrigeration systems.

B.C. produces over 300 commodities including fruits and vegetables, grains and oilseeds, dairy, livestock, poultry, eggs, fish and other seafood and is the most diverse agricultural province in Canada.

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