British Columbia-grown tech to improve British Columbia food production

News release

April 17, 2019 – Victoria, British Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

British Columbia's tech sector is being invited to propose solutions to help British Columbia (B.C.) food producers and processors increase their efficiency, sustainability and product traceability through the B.C. Agritech Innovation Challenge.

The federal and provincial government-funded Challenge is offering a total of $150,000 in support for made-in-B.C. technology solutions in three defined categories:

  • Food Processing Technology: Mechanization, digitization and automation for micro and small-scale processors to help ease the effects of any labour shortage. Examples could include shellfish shucking, plant-based protein processing, and technology for fruit and vegetable freezing, drying and peeling.
  • Food Traceability Technologies: User-friendly and economical options for micro and small-scale producers and processors to provide product tracking from farm to consumer. Examples include apps and software with different features and equipment compatibility.
  • Precision Agriculture Technologies and Bioproducts: Improved precision tools, technologies and practices, as well as innovation that transforms agriculture waste into renewable products. Examples could include integrated sensors to monitor soil nutrients, and bio-based materials (that is, nutrients, bio-chemicals, fertilizers, fuels) produced from agricultural waste.

In addition to seed funding to advance new technologies, participants will receive mentorship and support through Innovate BC's Agriculture Venture Accelerator Program. The Challenge is being presented in collaboration with Innovate BC and aims to help increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of B.C.'s agriculture and seafood industries, while providing access to new customers with global market potential, encouraging company growth.

Submission details and timelines are available at Innovate BC.

Funding for the Agritech Innovation Challenge is provided by the Government of British Columbia, and through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector.

Learn More


"Innovation is a driver for continued growth and competitiveness for food producers and processors across Canada. Our Government is pleased to support this initiative that will help explore and find innovative tech-based solutions to enhance productivity, sustainability and traceability in the B.C. agriculture sector.”
- Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, Marie-Claude Bibeau

"It's wonderful to see the collaboration between the tech and agriculture sectors, as well as the federal and provincial governments, to connect our B.C. farmers and our local innovators to work on new ways to grow our provinces agriculture sector. These opportunities provide important spaces for problems to be identified and cutting edge solutions to be crafted."
- B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham

"Technology is transforming industries all over the world. The only way for traditional industries like agriculture to become more competitive, more efficient, and more profitable is to adopt innovative, groundbreaking technologies that can have a global impact. Innovate BC is extremely excited to collaborate on this Agritech Innovation Challenge and help B.C. tech companies attract customers, secure funding, and grow their businesses.”
- Innovate BC President and CEO, Raghwa Gopal

"The BC Food Processors Association is excited about the potential for the Agritech Innovation Challenge to assist food and beverage manufacturers in B.C. Our industry is already well known for creating unique, innovative products, but in order to continue to compete and scale their businesses, there will be an ever-increasing need for technology, automation and advanced manufacturing to help them accomplish this. The Agritech Innovation Challenge creates a great platform for increased focus on this important field for our industries' future.”
- BC Food Processors Association CEO, James Donaldson

Quick facts

  • B.C. agrifood companies had sales of more than $14 billion in 2017 and employ more than 61,000 people.

  • Over 200 primary agriculture products and about 100 fish, shellfish and marine plant species are produced in B.C.

  • B.C. exported a record $3.9 billion in agrifood and seafood products to 157 markets in 2017.

  • There are more than 10,500 tech companies in B.C., employing more than 114,000 people.

  • The tech sector generates approximately $31 billion in revenue a year in B.C.


Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
613-404-1168 (cell)

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Agriculture

Jamil A. Karim
Marketing and Communications Manager
Innovate BC

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