The governments of Canada and Quebec today are launching two new programs to support innovation in the agriculture and agri-food sector under the Growing Forward bilateral agreement.
“By investing in innovation, the Government of Canada has made a pertinent decision. It helps create new markets for the agriculture and agri-food sectors. It also makes these sectors more competitive, boosts demand for agriculture products and helps open previously untapped markets,” says Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, citing that the Growing Forward agriculture policy framework makes science and innovation key elements of a new and dynamic vision for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
Through 2013, $5.6 million will be dedicated to the Programme d’appui pour un secteur agroalimentaire innovateur (PASAI) [Innovative Agri-Food Sector Support Program] and to the Programme d’appui pour la commercialisation d’innovation agricole (PACIA) [Agricultural Innovation Marketing Support Program].
The Innovative Agri-Food Sector Support Program (IAFSSP), with a $2.8 million budget, aims to help the Quebec agri-food sector acquire the means to be innovative, adapt to changes and open up new outlets in order to ensure its growth and profitability over the long term. From this perspective, the IAFSSP will support projects that promote the development of growth niches, dissemination of best methods or adoption of innovative techniques, technologies or procedures by farm businesses.
Furthermore, the Agricultural Innovation Marketing Support Program (AIMSP) as well as the innovation marketing orientation service offering-both of which stem from the Innovation Commercialization Centres initiative defined in the agreement and which share a $2.8 million budget-will support businesses in their efforts to market new products or procedures. For example, a funding application could be made under the AIMSP to prepare a marketing plan or conduct a feasibility or market study.
“These programs rely on the skills and creativity of women and men who have an innovative vision for Quebec agriculture. Their research and development work often leads to new methods and solutions that meet the challenges faced by our agri-food industry,” says Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Claude Béchard. “By combining innovation and passion, these individuals help make the Quebec agri-food sector a more stimulating, forward-looking way of life that is also attractive to youth,” concludes Minister Béchard.
The governments of Canada and Quebec are dedicating $192 million in funding from 2008 to 2013 for programs outside the areas of farm risk management under the Growing Forward agreement. This agreement provides for key investments in areas such as innovation and marketing, or to strengthen a sector’s ability to address social concerns and proactively manage risks. The federal and Quebec governments are splitting the costs 60%-40%, respectively.