Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 22, 2012 - Canadian soybean growers will benefit from a research project to find soybean varieties that will expand export opportunities to the Japanese market with the support of the Harper Government. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Pierre Lemieux, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, together with National Revenue Minister Gail Shea (Egmont), announced today an investment of more than $800,000 to help the soybean industry develop varieties that match the tastes and demands of the Japanese consumer.
"Our Government's top priority remains the economy, and innovative investments play an important role in fostering new economic growth for our agriculture producers," said PS Lemieux. "This investment will help our soybean producers cater to the expanding Japanese market, creating new opportunities to increase sales and boost their bottom lines."
The Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA) will test soybean varieties and related soy products for their individual taste, texture, odour and appearance to find the variety that best matches the demands of the Japanese marketplace. Plant breeders, genomic and bioscience researchers, growers and customers will all be involved in the evaluations. This screening system will identify the biochemical compounds in soybeans that give soy products their distinct taste and texture, and will link this back to soybean breeding work.
The Harper Government fully supports moving research innovation from the lab to the marketplace so it can benefit farmers, producers, and the Canadian economy. This project will test soybean varieties developed during ECODA's 2010 Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Initiative, which received $3.2 million from AAFC's Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) Initiative, bringing these new varieties closer to marketability.
"ECODA focuses on research that involves supply chain partners and projects that have a direct link to the marketplace," said Rory Francis, President of ECODA. "Commercialization of research results will ensure that producers and processors see the return on their $269,000 research investment in this project."
Tateno International Inc., an importer and wholesaler company in Tokyo, Japan, has worked with ECODA's supply chain partner, Sevita International, for several years to import Canadian soybeans for use in its value-added products.
Company president Koichi Tateno said, "We are pleased to participate in this exciting project. It provides all of us with the opportunity to better identify Canadian soybean varieties that can best suit our food market needs."
ECODA brings together partners from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces. The partners include Sevita International (Inkerman, Ontario and Belle River, PEI), TRT-ETGO du Québec (Bécancour, Québec) the Atlantic Grains Council, and the Prince Edward Island AgriAlliance. ECODA's mission is to coordinate the efforts of producers, processors, exporters, researchers, and government organizations in increasing the economic value and impact of the oilseed sector in Eastern Canada.
This investment is made through the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) - a $50 million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011. AIP is part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting edge science and technology. AIP boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes for the agricultural sector.
For more information, media may contact:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
ECODA Project Manager
Prince Edward Island AgriAlliance