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B.C. ramps up support for agritech

Two Vancouver-based agritech businesses are paving the way for stronger food security through B.C.’s Agritech Ramp-Up Pilot Program (Ramp-Up) with robotics and technology to support B.C.’s agriculture sector.

“B.C. agritech companies are at the forefront of creating new and innovative technology, which is giving us a glimpse into the future of farming with reduced labour costs, more sustainable food production and stronger regional food systems,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Our government is supporting the ingenuity of these local businesses through programs like Ramp-Up, ensuring we continue to have made-in-B.C. solutions that strengthen our province’s food security.”

QuantoTech was founded by Peter van der Gracht and daughter Alycia van der Gracht with the goal of creating technology to expand access to fresh food in locations and climates where traditional farming is challenging. The company designs LED lights, hydroponics, climate control, monitoring and control systems in-house and manufactures them in B.C. QuantoTech’s technology is used in Prince George, Quesnel and Mackenzie, producing crops such as lettuce, herbs and microgreens available locally and year-round under the brand Northern Greens.

Lyne Systems uses technology to optimize food production, processing and packaging lines to deliver greater system efficiencies and higher yield with less labour.

Lyne Systems’ PikAssist pilot project features a mechanical harvesting device that allows mushroom farms to more than double their harvesting efficiency, creating an affordable option for farmers facing difficulty finding skilled labour. Incorporating PikAssist requires no changes to existing farm operations and will help farmers increase the number of crops picked. The PikAssist will be tested on a B.C. farm when the protype is complete and has the potential to be used by mushroom growers throughout the province and country.

Ramp-Up is a cohort-based program divided into two phases designed to help food entrepreneurs move their ideas from concept to reality. In Phase 1, cohorts are provided with three days of market validation training, learning about customer meetings, reviewing and revising market plans, and analyzing barriers to scaling up their operations.

In Phase 2, businesses are provided with specialized mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities based on individual company needs and building upon concepts learned in Phase 1.

The program is funded by the Government of B.C. and delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. (IAF).

“The StrongerBC Economic Plan focuses on fostering innovation to grow a clean and inclusive economy and supporting B.C.’s agritech community is a key action to help us move forward,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The Province is supporting B.C. agritech companies to grow and scale up, creating high-paying high-tech jobs for people in this sector. I recently signed a significant agritech agreement with the Netherlands to enhance B.C.’s ability to trade and supply food globally, which will further position this province as a leader in clean-energy solutions and agritech innovation.”

Source : B.C Govt News

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