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Manitoba plant protein production receives governmental support


August 18, 2020
By Top Crop Manager

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The governments of Canada and Manitoba will invest up to $2.5 million cost-shared funding to support new technologies in Merit Functional Foods’ new state-of-the-art, 94,000-sq.-ft. plant protein production facility in Winnipeg. The funding is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program.

The announcement was made on Monday by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen and Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the ministers of economic development and official languages, and of environment and climate change, on behalf of federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

“The development of the Merit Functional Foods facility will create new, immediate jobs, helping our economy restart after the COVID-19 pandemic and support the Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy,” Pedersen said. “This project will enhance Manitoba’s economy by providing economic opportunities for the agricultural industry, including employment, and contributing to the growth of Manitoba’s growing protein processing sector, further establishing Manitoba as a Canadian leader in plant protein extraction.”

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“Canada is a global leader in the production of plant-based proteins,” Duguid said. “This new facility will not only add value to Canada’s pulses and oilseeds, but will create many additional jobs thereby supporting the local Manitoba economy.”

Merit Functional Foods (MFF) is building a new processing facility in Winnipeg that will derive protein from both canola and peas. This will result in purchasing up to 17,000 metric tonnes of canola and 10,000 metric tons of peas from Manitoba producers in its first year of operation, with an estimated value of $14 million. In three years, MFF expects that amount to increase up to 35,000 metric tonnes of canola and 20,000 metric tons of peas, valued at $28 million. In June 2020, the Government of Canada announced additional federal financing support of nearly $100 million for the new MFF plant.

Through CAP, the governments of Canada and Manitoba will be providing MFF with up to $2.5 million for new equipment purchases that will support the transformation of raw inputs into value-added goods. This investment will bring new technology into the production process for MFF’s new plant protein processing facility, creating up to 85 local jobs as part of its Phase 1 project and growing to more than 200 jobs in future phases.

The Manitoba government will also be providing $1 million for cost-shared training activities, as well as an up to $4.5-million rebate over a maximum of 20 years to MFF through the Manitoba Works Capital Incentive (MWCI) program. Cost-shared training activities will support the training of more than 100 new positions and five existing positions.