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$23M funding supports Saskatchewan’s pulse breeding research


Saskatoon, SK – The University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) is receiving $23 million in funding from the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) to supports its pulse crop breeding program.

The funding will be applied to the third five-year term in SPG’s 15-year pulse crop breeding agreement with the CDC and will support continued work in the areas of pea, lentil, chickpea, dry bean, and faba bean breeding.

Since 1997, SPG has provided significant funding for the pulse breeding program and has the exclusive commercialization rights for CDC pulse crop varieties. SPG and CDC signed the current 15-year pulse crop breeding agreement in 2005. The funding for the first five-year term of the agreement was $6.2 million. The funding for the second five-year term increased to $9.2 million. Since 1997, more than 110 pulse crop varieties developed by the CDC have been released through SPG’s variety release program.

“We believe the CDC pulse breeding program is the most successful in the world,” said Carl Potts, executive director with SPG. “Canada now has a dominant share of global trade in lentils and peas. Our investment in CDC will help to realize our goal of at least one pulse crop for every acre in the province by realizing further gains in other pulses such as chickpea and faba bean.”

Statistics Canada estimates record pulse crop seeded acre in 2016 at 7.3 million acres.  Much of this growth has been driven by a doubling of lentil acres in Saskatchewan since 2012.

“The CDC is pleased to be continuing our partnership with SPG through the next five-year term,” said Kofi Agblor, managing director at the CDC. “This significant increase in funding from SPG will support plant breeder’s work on a long-term basis, ensuring they are able to deliver on the agronomic and end-use attributes that are most important to Saskatchewan farmers through innovative plant breeding. The University of Saskatchewan will continue to contribute significant infrastructure and other in-kind resources towards pulse crop breeding, while maintaining royalty-free commercialization of arising varieties to Saskatchewan producers during the term of this agreement.”