SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA — The Canadian government is investing up to C$11.1 million to the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ and Pulse Canada in part to improve the productivity of new pulse crops.

The investment under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Clusters, builds on two previous research clusters.

The cluster will focus on a series of themes: improving productivity of new pulse crops, addressing threats to the value chain, exploring the health benefits of pulses and developing innovations in pulse ingredient processing and food product development.

“Canada’s pulse sector is a world-leader and makes a vital contribution to Canada’s economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food. “This federal investment will help the industry get more Canadian pulses onto kitchen tables here in Canada and around the world. Our government is investing in our farmers and food businesses because we have prioritized the agriculture sector as a primary driver for growing Canada’s economy and creating middle class jobs.”

Funding under the cluster will enable universities and research institutions across the country to undertake new research activities and hire faculty members and summer students, including the University of Saskatchewan.

An investment of C$175,721 was provided to Pulse Canada through the Growing Forward 2, AgriInnovation Program, toward pulse innovation in the Chinese market. The project will help the industry expand the use of pulses in a wide range of Chinese foods and investigate the health benefits of eating pulse snacks.

Canada also is supporting the pulse sector through the Protein Industries Supercluster, part of the Innovation Superclusters Initiative announced in Budget 2017. The Protein Industries Supercluster will use plant genomics and novel processing technology to increase the value of key Canadian crops, such as canola, wheat and pulses that are coveted in high-growth foreign markets, such as China and India, as well as to satisfy growing markets in North America and Europe for plant-based meat alternatives and new food products.

Canada is a top producer of pulses, accounting for C$2.5 billion in farmgate receipts and C$3.4 billion in exports to 126 countries in 2017.