BELLE RIVER, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA — Oilseed crops are one of the fastest-growing markets in Eastern Canada. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), soybean production in Prince Edward Island has roughly tripled since 2008 to 2016.

Lawrence MacAulay, minister of AAFC, was at the Atlantic Soy processing plant in Belle River, Prince Edward Island, to announce a federal investment of C$3.7 million to the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA). The goal is to help farm businesses, like Atlantic Soy, to 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. The Atlantic Soy facility began operating in March 2008, through a partnership between David Hendrick of Hendrick’s Agri-food and the MacDonald family.

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 overall and of these activities 10 projects worth C$733,000 will be conducted in Prince Edward Island.

“Our government is always looking for ways to grow opportunities for farmers in Prince Edward Island, and across our country,” MacAulay said. “This investment into the development of new oilseed varieties made to grow in Eastern Canadian soils and sell in international markets, along with trade opportunities our government is creating, will help our farmers put more money in their pockets and grow their businesses.”

AAFC said soybean sales from Eastern Canada to Japan and other Asian markets total over C$2.3 billion. Approximately 16% of the soybean acreage in 2016 in Prince Edward Island was exported to Japan to be processed into tofu and miso.

The research and commercialization program includes some 15 AAFC, university, and private sector research organizations, and 12 grower and industry partners from eastern Canada, including collaborators from Europe, Japan, and the United States.