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$4.5 million to be invested for agriculture innovation

The provincial and federal governments have targeted over $4.5 million through the Growing Forward Agreement to support B.C. agricultural producers and processors who want to develop new products, create new processes, and access new markets.

 Under the innovation banner of the federal-provincial Growing Forward Agreement, government and industry are collaborating on a number of initiatives, such as the $2.04 million Innovation and Commercialization Centre.

The centre will be a one-stop agricultural information resource promoting product development within industry by linking businesses and other organizations with service and technology suppliers.

Other initiatives are focused on:

• Encouraging the development of high-efficiency, low-waste manufacturing processes.

• Helping producers and processors identify and realise opportunities for biomass use in bioenergy and nutraceuticals.

• Creating enhanced B.C. product quality assessments.

• Fostering the development of premium products and niche markets.

• Planning a series of agriculture innovation forums to foster collaborative science, policy, and marketing action plans and strategies.

 These and other innovation initiatives will help the B.C. agri-food sector speed up the development and adoption of new technologies and processes, improving their economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and ability to adapt to the regional and global marketplace.

The five-year Growing Forward Agreement ends in 2013 and includes $475 million in federal and provincial support to the B.C. agricultural sector to help provide income stability and insurance against losses through Business Risk Management programs.

An additional $78 million is being invested in programs designed to help farmers and other participants in the agricultural and agri-food industry increase their competitiveness and profitability.

 For more information on Growing Forward programs in B.C., visit: http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/apf/GF_Programs.html