Government of Canada helps meet global demand for sustainable protein products

News release

November 17, 2021 – Regina, Saskatchewan – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of more than $4.3 million to support Canada’s pulse and special crops farmers meet growing consumer demand for sustainable, high-quality plant-based protein.

Investments will support international marketing activities to find foreign buyers, improve performance of transportation networks and reduce the risks posed by international trade barriers. By increasing the market for Canadian-made pulse products, these investments will encourage more farmers to add the nitrogen-fixing crops into their rotations, thereby increasing residual nitrogen in the soil and reducing the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers for subsequent annual grain crops.

An investment of more than $2.3 million will enable Pulse Canada to continue to develop its ‘25 by 25' strategy to have 25 per cent of pulse production in new markets by 2025. Pulse Canada will use the funding to promote the benefits of pulses and their ingredient derivatives to international food manufacturers and foodservice operators as a sustainable, value-added, healthy ingredient across a wide range for food sectors.

In addition, close to $1.5 million in funding will enhance the Ag Transport Coalition Railway Performance Measurement Program, an important asset for the grain sector. It provides individual shippers with insight on supply chain performance and a common data platform to find transportation solutions to effectively and efficiently get their products to market.

A further $429,000 will help Pulse Canada assess and resolve barriers to international trade, including challenges created by the pandemic and create more stability for exports.

The Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) is also receiving $127,944 to advance international opportunities for Canada's pulse and special crops industry, which includes beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, canary seeds, buckwheat, sunflower seeds and mustard seeds. CSCA will build and maintain relationships with the global pulse and special crops trade networks and develop industry-to-industry advocacy efforts to resolve market access issues.


"This announcement is win-win. On the one hand we are expanding markets for Canadian-made protein products, and on the other hand, we are encouraging farmers to plant more pulses which are a sustainable solution to soil and crop management. Now more than ever, consumers around the world are demanding sustainable, nutritious sources of plant protein and the Canadian pulse and other high protein crops industries continue to lead the way."

- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

"Canada leads the world in the production and exportation of sustainable, nutritious pulses and pulse ingredients. Today's investments from the Government of Canada in diversifying markets, exploring new uses, expanding market access and ensuring timely and predictable rail service will help the Canadian pulse industry capitalize on the increasing global demand for sustainable products while growing our economy and improving our environment."

- Corey Loessin, Chair, Pulse Canada

"Canada's pulse and special crops sector is a diverse group of processors, exporters, ingredient companies and service providers who are focused on growing our industry here in Canada and around the world. Today's investment is a welcome signal from the federal government of the important role pulses and special crops will play in sustainably growing Canadian agricultural exports into the future."

- Murad Al-Katib, President, Canadian Special Crops Association

Quick facts

  • These investments build on other recently announced Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) initiatives that contribute to an environmentally sustainable and resilient agriculture sector. This includes the Agricultural Clean Technology Program, which supports the development and adoption on farms of clean technology that are energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also includes the On-Farm Climate Action Fund, which will help farmers tackle climate change by supporting them in adopting beneficial management practices that store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases, specifically in the areas of: nitrogen management; cover cropping; and rotational grazing practices. 

  • Pulse crops in Canada have demonstrated sustainability benefits for the environment. In addition to the inherent low carbon footprint of pulse-based cropping systems, pulse farmers have adopted farming practices such as no-till with reduced fallowing, which sequesters large amounts of atmospheric carbon into soils and reduces carbon emissions from producing pulse crops. According to Pulse Canada, these efforts have resulted in a carbon neutral or carbon negative crop. Pulse crops also have a low water footprint and contribute to improving soil health.

  • With the increased interest in growing pulse crops in recent years, researchers at AAFC have quantified some of the benefits of adding these crops to rotations. Research has shown that, when compared to summer fallowing (leaving the land idle during the growing year), diversifying cropping systems with pulses improves soil water use, improves soil nitrogen availability and increases crop production.

  • Research commissioned by Pulse Canada also shows hog producers are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 18 per cent by using pea proteins to feed their animals.

  • Pulse Canada is an industry association working on behalf of Canadian pulse growers and exporters. It is focused on growing new markets for Canadian pulses while ensuring continued access to existing markets, advocating to keep crop protection products available to growers and for the improvement of domestic grain transportation.

  • The Canadian Special Crops Association is a non-profit alliance of over 100 processors, exporters and service providers working together to advance Canada's pulse and special crops industry.

  • The funding announced today is provided through the AgriMarketing Program, one of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership's federally delivered programs, which supports industry-led promotional activities that highlight Canadian products and producers and boost Canada's reputation for high quality and safe food.

  • Canada is the world's largest exporter of pulse crops and the largest producer and exporter of peas and lentils globally. Canada exports pulses to over 130 countries around the world annually, with a $3.88 billion export value in the 2020-2021 crop year finishing July 31, 2021.

  • With a Government of Canada investment of $173 million spread over 5 years until 2023, the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) Supercluster is adding value to key Canadian crops including canola, wheat, and pulses by enabling innovation in agri-food technologies like genomics and novel food development. With a mandate to establish Canada as a global leader in plant-based protein, PIC member companies are capturing the growing global market for protein alternatives and bringing choice and economic benefit to Canadians across the country. The Supercluster is leveraging $239 million in complementing industry investment already and is expected to generate more than $4.5 billion in GDP and create more than 4,500 jobs over 10 years, while helping to feed the world.

Associated links


Oliver Anderson
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
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