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$6.7 M Oilseed Research Initiative In Pei

The Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance, Inc. (ECODA) and Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) are each committing up to $3.35 million to fund targeted research that will increase the successful and profitable production of high quality canola and Identity Preserved (IP) food grade soybeans on Eastern Canadian farms.

The five year research program, entitled Oilseeds East: Market-Driven Research for Soybean and Canola Supply Chain Profitability, includes fundamental adaptive agronomic research that is essential to growers’ ability to successfully produce high quality oilseed crops in a sustainable, profitable manner, as well as leading edge research utilizing speed-breeding, marker-assisted selection, phyto-chemical fingerprinting, and targeted mutagenesis. The program will be supported by an initiative dedicated to technology transfer and communication of results to farmers and other industry partners.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joined ECODA President Rory Francis in making the announcement at the Halifax Seaport Market on July 17th, 2013.

“Our Government is providing producers with the tools they need to grow their business and increase profitability through key investments in research and innovation,” Minister Ritz said.  “We are creating new opportunities for canola and soybean producers by enhancing yield and developing better disease and pest management practices.”

ECODA is a private, not-for-profit company whose mission is to coordinate the efforts of producers, processors, exporters, researchers and government in increasing the economic value and impact of the canola and soybean industries in Eastern Canada. ECODA’s head office is located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

In addition to the federal government, ECODA’s principal funding partners include TRT-ETGO (Quebec); Bunge (Ontario); Sevita International Ltd. (Ontario/PEI); the Ontario Canola Growers Association; Potatoes New Brunswick; the Prince Edward Island Potato Board; the Atlantic Grains Council; and the PEI AgriAlliance.

The research partners include Dalhousie University (Agriculture Campus); McCain Foods Ltd; McCain Produce Limited; the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture & Fisheries; Laval University; Progest; CEROM; McGill University; Trent University; the University of Guelph; and AAFC research locations in Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

“The ECODA model is focused on gaining international market share by linking growers, processors and exporters to the scientific research they need to win on competitiveness, productivity and uniqueness in key markets,” said ECODA President Rory Francis. “We want to thank Minister Ritz and AAFC for seeing the huge value in supporting industry-led research initiatives that facilitate the creation of effective supply chains which provide immediate returns to the Canadian economy.”

While canola has been successfully grown in Western Canada for many years, it is still a relatively new crop in Eastern Canada. Between 2006 and 2011, canola production in Eastern Canada (Ontario and east) increased 305% to over 141,000 acres, while farm cash receipts increased almost 700% to $46.3 million. Export markets for non-genetically modified (non-GM) IP soybeans have also been expanding, with sales exceeding $50 million per year.  IP soybean varieties with higher yields are necessary to increase profitability for growers and respond to this market opportunity.

“Canola and soybeans offer the potential for strong returns for farmers. In the Atlantic region, potatoes are a major economic engine for the agricultural sector, and part of the ECODA research program will focus on understanding how oilseed crops work within the potato rotation.  Our objective is to increase the production and financial returns from oilseeds in a sustainable way,” said Rory Francis.

The successful completion of the Oilseeds East initiative will permit the continued expansion of a growing, high value, market-focused and market-driven oilseed industry in Eastern Canada, resulting in new jobs and economic growth in the region.