Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus will house the new B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation
By Diego Flammini
The B.C. government is investing in a new facility centred around agricultural innovation.
The Province will spend up to $6.5 million over three years on the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation at Simon Fraser University’s campus in Surrey.
The federal government is also contributing up to $10 million over five years. That funding is coming from Pacific Economic Development Canada.
When it officially opens in September, the centre will focus on helping small and medium-sized businesses develop, test and pilot their ideas in simulated and real-world environments to be ready for commercialization.
In addition, it will help further B.C.’s reputation in ag technology, improve food security and create jobs for British Columbians.
“Our government is working hard to strengthen food security and build a resilient provincial food system, and the new centre will be another piece in the puzzle that will help drive transformation in the agriculture and food sector,” Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of agriculture and food, said in a statement. “By bringing together regenerative agriculture practices and agritech, we are aiming to increase sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing farm profitability and creating more job opportunities.”
To be eligible for acceptance to the new agritech centre, a project must meet certain criteria:
- The company has at least four, but fewer than 100, employees.
- The company must be a private corporation, incorporated and headquartered in B.C.
- The company must have been in operation for at least two years with a clear plan for business scale-up.
- The project must be related to agriculture, agri-technology and agri-foods and have the potential to be commercialized within 12 to 24 months.
Farmers are increasingly incorporating technology into their operations to be more profitable and sustainable.
Technology also helps producers manage challenges beyond their control.
“What we’ve experienced in terms of climate change, the floods, the heat dome, there’s just been so many challenges,” Bill Vanderkooi, a dairy farmer from Abbotsford, told the Vancouver Sun. “Technological innovation is one of the solutions that I think can help us be better prepared and be able to sustain farming and agriculture.”