The IRDA's Platform for Innovation in Organic Agriculture
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec, June 5, 2012 - Senator Ghislain Maltais, on behalf of Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) together with Sam Hamad, Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export, Pierre Corbeil, Quebec Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, as well as the Research and Development Institute for the Agri-Environment (IRDA), today announced a financial contribution of $13,132,343 for the creation of a new research centre called the Platform for Innovation in Organic Agriculture. This amount will enable construction of a multi-purpose centre and the acquisition of the machinery and scientific equipment needed for the work that will be carried out at the new research centre. This is expected to revitalize research, development and knowledge transfer in the area of organic crop production.
The Platform, designed by the IRDA, will address the research/development needs expressed by over 30 organizations involved in organic agriculture. The new facility is located in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Montérégie, and will be used for finding solutions to technical or agronomic problems and therefore for improving the competitiveness of Quebec companies operating in this industry sector.
"The Quebec government is proud to support this large-scale project that will stimulate research and development in organic crop production and further the transfer of knowledge, whether information, research results, technical advice or training," stated Mr. Sam Hamad, Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export.
"The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the competitiveness of the agricultural sector. This joint project will help maintain growth in Quebec's organic agriculture sector by improving the competitiveness of organic producers or those transitioning and, more broadly, the environmental performance of farms throughout Quebec," said Senator Maltais.
"This is good news for Quebec! The spin-offs from the Platform will be beneficial for the organic sector and will flow over into the other sectors. In fact, applying the research findings from an integrated management perspective and in the area of organic agriculture will also benefit traditional companies that wish to reduce the environmental impact of their activities," indicated Minister Pierre Corbeil.
"I'm very proud to see this new research centre being set up in our region, which is one of the birthplaces of Quebec's agriculture industry. The expertise of our farmers combined with research by the experts who will be working here will benefit Montérégie residents and all Quebecers," said Nicole Ménard, Minister of Tourism and Minister Responsible for the Montérégie region.
"By supporting the introduction of the Platform for Innovation in Organic Agriculture, the Quebec government and the Government of Canada are showing the importance they attach to research of public interest and knowledge transfer. The work that will be conducted there will support the organic agriculture industry by accelerating the discovery and implementation of solutions that address the needs of farmers and society," stated Ms. Gisèle Grandbois, IRDA President and CEO.
The IRDA is a non-profit research corporation formed in 1998 by four founding organizations, namely the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ), the Quebec Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export (MDEIE), the Quebec Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Parks and the Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA).
The financial contribution of the partners involved in this project is broken down as follows:
About the Research Assistance Program, phase 2 "Support for Research Infrastructure Funding"
The objective of this program is to provide financial support for the modernization, acquisition and establishment of research infrastructure. This program is part of the 2010-2013 Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy (QRIS) and seeks to support projects or initiatives from research communities. It is intended for non-profit organizations working in the various sectors of research, innovation and science and technology transfer, and in government research facilities or health and education networks.
About the 2010-2013 Quebec Research and Innovation Strategy
Entitled Mobilize, Innovate, Prosper, the modernization of the QRIS is primarily to strengthen Quebec's science initiative. It also helps accelerate innovation, product development and mobilization to better position Quebec companies in opportunity-rich markets. It firmly commits Quebec towards the "green economy," which is the economy of tomorrow.
Including the 2007-2010 QRIS, over $2.3 billion will have been contributed, for a total investment from the Quebec government of roughly $11.5 billion, which also includes tax credits and the ministries' base budgets.
The Agricultural Flexibility Fund (AgriFlexibility) is a five year (2009-2014) program that will improve the sector's competitiveness and will help the sector adapt to pressures through non-business risk-management measures that will improve environmental sustainability, reduce production costs, promote innovation and respond to market challenges. This joint federal-provincial project is cost-shared at a 60:40 ratio. The federal funding from AgriFlexibility for this project will be used to carry out a set of irrigation projects, purchase machinery and scientific equipment, as well as establish preparatory plans and studies for building the research centre.
About the Plan d'action pour le secteur biologique and the Plan d'action pour la recherche et l'innovation en agroalimentaire of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Together with community partners and players, in July 2010 the MAPAQ announced the Plan d'action pour le secteur biologique, the implementation of which will be completed in 2013. The Platform for Innovation in Organic Agriculture is a prime vehicle for implementing this action plan, which is specifically intended to support research, technology adaptation and knowledge transfer, in support of the development of the organic farming and processing sectors. The work incurred through the Platform also fits into the mandates that the Ministry assigns to the IRDA.
Launched by the MAPAQ in July 2010, the Plan d'action pour la recherche et l'innovation en agroalimentaire focuses primarily on creating a better synergy between the research community and the agri-food industry. The Platform for Innovation in Organic Agriculture also aligns with that direction.