Business & Policy
Government invests to support oilseed development in Eastern Canada
By Top Crop Manager
The Government of Canada will invest $3.7 million to the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA), announced federal Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay at the Atlantic Soy processing plant in Belle River, Prince Edward Island.
This investment will help farm businesses, like Atlantic Soy, obtain the latest varieties in oilseeds that are best suited to grow in Atlantic Canadian soils and meet the demands of consumers in international markets.
Oilseed crops are one of the fastest-growing markets in Eastern Canada and soybean production in Prince Edward Island has roughly tripled since 2008 to 2016. Soybean sales from Eastern Canada to Japan and other Asian Markets total over $2.3 billion and approximately 16 per cent of the soybean acreage in 2016 in Prince Edward Island was exported to Japan to be processed into tofu and miso.
One of the fastest growing opportunities for agriculture in the Eastern Region is in oilseeds, in particular soybean and canola production. Eastern Canada’s soybean production has seen an increase of seven per cent, with farm cash receipts of $2.3 billion in 2016 (an increase of 9.8 per cent since 2012), mostly due to exports to Japan and other parts of Asia. Canola has the highest cash value per acre of all crops produced in Canada, however production in Eastern Canada has been a little slow due to the lack of agronomic knowledge and practices. This project will address this knowledge gap with research that will help establish oilseeds as a viable export crop for Eastern Canada.
“Research is key: the future is breeding better varieties. You have to test many different varieties before you get a winner and this investment will help breed varieties that will suit the soils of P.E.I. Better varieties will result in greater opportunities for the farmers of P.E.I.,” said Murray MacDonald, manager at Atlantic Soy in a statement.
Over the next five years, ECODA research activities will focus on:
- Developing better varieties and new oilseed crops for eastern Canada, including soybeans, camelina, brown mustard, pulses, canola, and hemp;
- Product innovation to boost market opportunities for oilseeds and value-added products;
- Improving land use and increasing profitable crop rotation options; and
- Improving pest resistance and soil preservation.
There are 21 projects over all and of these activities, 10 projects worth $733,000 will be conducted in Prince Edward Island. Some of the 10 projects include: improving soil health with pulses, using brown mustard in potato rotations, exploring camelina as a rotational crop and using non-GMO oilseeds as salmon feed.
The research and commercialization program includes some 15 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, university, and private sector research organizations, and 12 grower and industry partners from eastern Canada, including collaborators from Europe, Japan, and the United States.
With the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Canadian oilseed growers now have tariff-free access to many Pacific markets, including Japan.