News & Media

Turning New Ideas into a Competitive Advantage for the Agriculture Sector

The Harper Government is investing in the long-term growth and competitiveness of Canada's agricultural sector. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced today the details of the $50 million Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) which will boost the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies and processes in the agricultural sector.

"This investment in the agriculture industry is money well spent as innovative farming means a competitive farm sector that can continue driving Canada's economy," said Minister Ritz, speaking at the midterm convention of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. "Whether it's an investment in research and development or in giving Western grain farmers marketing freedom, the Harper Government is helping farmers become more competitive and profitable."

The Agricultural Innovation Program, announced in Budget 2011 as part of the Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, will support industry-led science and technology that bridges the gap between ideas and products in the marketplace. By helping make innovative value-added products, technologies, processes and services commercially available, the Canadian agriculture sector can create jobs, boost revenue and reduce production costs.

"Canadian companies need cutting-edge innovative value-added products and technologies to be able to compete globally," added Minister Ritz. "This investment will help us not only encourage new innovative ideas, but also turn them into profitable opportunities for farmers and the entire agriculture sector."

AIP is a national program but will provide support for local initiatives to help address specific pre-commercialization issues or opportunities. It builds on the Government of Canada's success in promoting industry leadership, creating jobs, and increasing profitability in a highly competitive global economy. The investment will help leverage private sector resources, which are vital to ensuring prosperity and competitiveness of our agriculture sector.

For more information about the Agricultural Innovation Program and other AAFC programs please visit, or call 1-877-246-4682.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz


Innovation and commercialization of new products and technologies is key for long-term growth, profitability and global competitiveness of the Canadian agricultural sector. Turning innovative ideas into practical applications helps the sector - from manufacturers and supplier to producers - capitalize on emerging market opportunities, increase the share of existing markets and improve profitability.

The Agricultural Innovation Program brings stakeholders together to work on research, development, commercialization and adoption of new products, technologies, processes and services. The $50 million program ending on March 31, 2013, will provide funding through two streams:

Knowledge Creation and Transfer will fund projects that accelerate the research and development, application and transfer of knowledge and technologies in the sector; and
Commercialization will fund projects that support the competitiveness, sustainability and adaptability of the sector by increasing the rate of successful commercialization and adoption of agri-based innovations in Canada.

The Knowledge Creation and Transfer Stream will provide agri-entrepreneurs, firms and organizations greater access to government, university and other resources required to support successful transformation of innovative ideas into viable business ventures. The non-repayable funding will support knowledge creation and transfer and faster pre-commercialization development of new agri-practices, products and processes.

This stream will fund projects under two separate segments:

Innovation Strategy Development will fund activities which facilitate national value chain development including consultations, market research, business planning, communications, workshops, administration and coordination services; and
Applied Science, Technology Development and Piloting Projects will fund activities that foster collaboration between the private sector and/or academic labs in accessing the applied scientific research and development expertise and resources needed to accelerate the development of new products, practices and processes. Projects will lead to the successful transformation of innovative ideas and prototypes into new technologies.

The Commercialization Stream will provide for-profit companies, co-operatives and organizations with repayable funding for agri-based projects that:

commercialize and/or adopt innovative agricultural, agri-food or agri-based products, technologies, processes and services; establish, expand, or modernize a facility to commercialize or adopt such innovative agricultural, agri-food or agri-based products, technologies, processes or services for domestic and/or international markets; and implement marketing opportunities related to the commercialization or adoption project.


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