Governments invest $8.5M in Ag-West Bio to enhance the province’s ag biotechnology sector
By Kate Ayers
The provincial and federal governments renewed funding to support the development of the agricultural biotechnology sector in Saskatchewan.
Lawrence MacAulay, the federal ag minister, and Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan’s ag minister, made the announcement on Monday, a Government of Saskatchewan release said.
Specifically, the funds will go to Ag-West Bio. The Government of Saskatchewan established the organization in 1989 to develop and expand the province’s ag-biotech sector. The group works with innovators and investors to bring research to market, the release said.
“This (investment) will allow us to move forward in full force to build the bioscience and agri-food sectors in Saskatchewan,” Dr. Wilf Keller, Ag-West Bio president and CEO, said to Farms.com today.
The funding will contribute to “planning events, organizing new projects, hosting conferences and seminars, and working closely with the province and research community to keep growing the sector.”
Ag-West Bio will receive $1.7 million each year over the next five years, amounting to a total of $8.5 million. This renewed funding comes though the Canadian Agriculture Partnership.
The association will use this investment to provide the agricultural community with advocacy and advice; financing and business attraction; and networking and educational events, the release said.
“It’s a fascinating time to be involved in agriculture,” Keller said in the release.
“Growth is being driven by both bio- and digital technologies. Ag-food is an area with significant potential. This renewed funding gives Ag-West Bio the resources to move this sector to the next level.”
The funds are part of Saskatchewan’s investment in ag research in the 2018-19 provincial budget.
“There are two big growth areas that will get our attention. One being agricultural diversification and the other is value-added processing,” Keller said to Farms.com.
Ag-West Bio is focused on “the whole growth of ag tech, digital technology, robotics and artificial intelligence and how these tools can be used to make agricultural production and product development more efficient and safer.”
UPDATED June 21, 2018
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