IAF Welcomes the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program and the BC Agrifoods Export Program

Agriculture is a growing industry. In 2012, British Columbia’s agriculture, food and seafood sectors generated $11.7 billion in combined gross revenues, with $2.5 billion worth of products exported to over 130 countries. Maintaining this momentum requires continued effort and investment from concept and commercialization, to cultivating new markets.

The Investment Agriculture Foundation is proud to deliver the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program and the BC Agrifoods Export Program through Growing Forward 2 – a federal, provincial framework to help the industry seize future opportunities and realize its full potential as a major driver of the Canadian economy.

“Having this money available to support late-stage research and development, and commercialization helps keep the BC agrifoods sector vital and competitive,” says Ken Bates, chair of the Investment Agriculture Foundation. “The new export development program funding will help complete the cycle of market development.”

The BC Agrifoods Export Program is open to BC-based agrifood producers, processors, associations or marketers that market a BC grown or processed product. It provides up to $50,000 in matching funds to enable industry engagement in international market development activities, including participation in international tradeshows, promotional events and incoming/outgoing missions, and creating marketing materials to support international market development.

Funding for the BC Agrifoods Export Program is available on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds have been fully allocated. Participants must contribute 50% in cash of the total project cost. The $4.3 million program will run from 2013-2018, with $600,000 in funding available in 2013-2014.

There are many steps that come before getting products to market, and the Agri-Innovation program is helping address those needs and opportunities. The program provides matching funds to support industry, academia, retailers and others in late stage research and pilot projects that lead to the commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, technologies and practices in five priority areas:

  • Advancements in plant, animal and food science
  • Energy and waste management
  • New product development and commercialization
  • Improvements in soil, water and air quality
  • Climate change adaptation

Between August and October 2013, IAF has approved and committed over $1.8 million in funding to 17 projects under the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program.

The Agri-Innovation program was first introduced under the previous Growing Forward agreement, and has been renewed to continue supporting innovation projects that benefit individual enterprises and positively impact the profitability and competitiveness of the BC agriculture and agri-foods sector as a whole.

For Vitalus Nutrition Inc., Agri-Innovation funding was one of the deciding factors that allowed them to move forward with a pilot project to develop lactose-free milk protein concentrates.

“Vitalus obtained knowledge on the available technologies for developing lactose-free milk protein concentrates,” says Pamela Ambriz, new product development manager for Vitalus. “Focusing on one product line – a concentrate with a protein level of 85 per cent (MPC 85) – we identified the best technology for our operation that would allow us to commercialize production of the product.”

Applications for the Agri-Innovation Program are accepted on an on-going basis. All projects (including reporting requirements) must be completed by January 31, 2015.

For more information about Growing Forward 2 programs being delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation, visit www.iafbc.ca.

Funding: $600,000 through the federal-provincial BC Agrifoods Export Program. $3,000,000 through the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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