WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Canada is working to advance innovation and sustainability in its canola sector by investing over C$12 million.

While visiting the Bruce D. Campbell Farm & Food Discovery Centre, Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC), announced the funding to the Canola Council of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Clusters.

According to AAFC, in 2016 Canadian canola seed and oil exports accounted for almost 15% of total agriculture and food exports, valued at C$9.2 billion. Canola also has been the largest crop in Canada in terms of market receipts since 2010, and accounts for more than one-fifth of all Canadian cropland. The Canadian government knows that research and innovation are vital to ensuring Canadian canola farmers have a sustainable and profitable future.

“We are committed to continue working closely with the canola industry, so that together we can help reach our government’s goal of C$75 billion in exports by 2025,” MacAulay said. “The investment we announced today will help keep the sector on the cutting edge so it continues to grow sustainably while contributing to our economy and supporting well-paying middle class jobs.”

Building on the work of two previous clusters, this research investment includes an additional industry contribution of up to C$8.1 million. The cluster will focus on advancing the growth and profitability of the sector through innovative and sustainable approaches to creating new and improved products. Activities will include adapting food processing techniques, exploring uses for canola meal in livestock production, examining practices to optimize yields, protect crops from pests, and share lessons learned with stakeholders.

The Canadian government also is continuing to support new markets for the canola sector. In 2016, Canada reached an agreement to secure canola trade with China, which allows for exports of canola seeds under existing commercial terms until March 2020. Exports of canola seed to China continue to increase, reaching $2.6 billion in 2017. In addition, in June 2018 the government introduced legislation to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which will further help to open markets and increase exports.

“Innovation is critical to the growth of the canola industry and this research will help us to contribute to the government’s goal of C$75 billion in exports by 2025,” said Jim Everson, president, Canola Council of Canada. “Not only that, it will support our strategic plan to ensure the canola industry’s continued growth, demand, stability and success - achieving 52 bushels per acre to meet global market demand of 26 million tonnes by 2025.”