Lab Canada

Oil seed producers get up to $19M funding for research cluster

Saskatoon, SK – Up to $19 million for research is being provided to the Canola Council of Canada by the federal government to lead research in partnership with the Flax Council of Canada, industry scientists and universities.

Funding of $14.5 million will bring together the best scientific expertise for the Canola Cluster to focus research and innovation on three areas: oil nutrition, meal nutrition and production, to enable the industry to expand the profile of canola oils as a healthy oil while increasing the value of the meal. Industry partnership is an important element of this initiative and the Canola Council of Canada will provide another $5 million to help them reach the ambitious growth targets they have set for 2015.

“We welcome these substantial investments from the Government of Canada in the future of these important crops, such as canola,” said JoAnne Buth, president of the Canola Council of Canada. “The science clusters demonstrate the value of government, industry and farmers working together to increase agricultural production and demand.”

The cluster will also prove beneficial for the flax industry as it will focus on nutritional benefits of flax for humans and animals. The planned clinical trials are aimed to move the flax industry closer to its goal of attaining health claims in its target markets.

“The Flax Council of Canada is very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada and the industry to undertake important clinical research on flax in several areas of human health” said Barry Hall, president of the Flax Council of Canada. “Scientific substantiation of health benefits is a cornerstone in which Canadian flaxseed is marketed globally and the results that will arise from this research will be invaluable to our industry across the value chain.”

In addition, $4.6 million will fund research of the Clubroot in Canola project to combat a pathogen that threatens canola production. This project will connect research talent from universities with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s own plant pathologists, and biochemists to develop strategies for preventing the spread of clubroot.

Canola is one of Canada’s most valuable single field crops, generating more than $4.9 billion in farm gate receipts in 2008. It accounts for more than 216,000 jobs in Canada in production, transportation, crushing, refining, food production and manufacturing. Flax represents another $346 million in farm gate value.

The Canola Cluster is funded under the Canadian Agri-Science Clusters initiative and the Clubroot in Canola project is funded under the Animal and Plant Health Research initiative, both under the Growing Forward framework.