The feds support innovation and growth of the pulse sector
By Kate Ayers
The federal government will provide funding of up to $11.1 million to the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ and Pulse Canada to grow the pulse sector.
Lawrence MacAulay, the federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, made the announcement yesterday, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada release said.
“Canada’s pulse sector is a world-leader and makes a vital contribution to Canada’s economy,” MacAulay said.
“This federal investment will help the industry get more Canadian pulses onto kitchen tables here in Canada and around the world.”
The investment is through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, under the AgriScience Clusters. In addition to the government’s $11.1 million, industry stakeholders are providing $7.2 million. This contribution brings the investment total to over $18 million.
The research cluster will focus on a variety of areas in the sector, the release said. Some of the themes include
- improving productivity of new pulse crops
- addressing threats to the value chain
- exploring the health benefits of pulses
- developing innovations in pulse ingredient processing and food product development
“We have two top priority areas,” Corey Loessin, a grain farmer and the chair of the board of directors for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said to Farms.com today.
“One being some of the production issues that growers face in pulse crops. As well as market development of ‘new-use’ products … both of which should be beneficial to pulse growers.”
Funding under the cluster will also help the industry further expand the use of pulses in Chinese foods and explore the health benefits of pulse-containing snacks, the release said.
“There are opportunities for increased emphasis on market development because of the current loss of the Indian market. There are a lot of pulse crops that have to go somewhere,” Loessin said.
“Developing new markets is key and keeping the existing markets happy is another area that the government is working on and should continue to develop.”
The research cluster is managed through the collaboration of Pulse Canada, the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Alberta Pulse Growers, Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers and Ontario Bean Growers.
Canada’s pulse industry accounted for $2.5 billion in farmgate receipts and $3.4 billion in exports last year, the release said. In 2017, Canadian farmers produced 7.1 million tonnes of pulses and the five-year average for Canadian pulse production is 6.5 million tonnes per year.