Portage to Benefit from Agricultural Innovation Program
April 11, 2012
An announcement by Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner at the Food Developmental Centre in Portage la Prairie could mean that 60 new jobs are coming to town.
The MP announced $2.5-million in funding to the Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Product Inc. (CPGPP) in order for them to develop their puree products while making use of products already grown by local farmers to achieve their goal for exporting the mash to global markets.
"We're thrilled. We're absolutely thrilled. This is going to help our business expand to the next level and we're going to be able to build the kind of product that we can export," said Kelly Beaulieu, vice-president of the CPGPP. "We've shown this product nationally to multi-national companies across Canada. We've got a real opportunity to grow a good agri-business right here in Manitoba."
The funding is the first to be distributed as part of the Agricultural Innovation Program, which totals $50-million to: accelerate the pace of innovation; facilitate the commercialization and adoption of innovative products, technologies, processes and/or services that will enhance economic growth, productivity and competitiveness of the Canadian agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector; and help the sector capture opportunities in domestic and global markets.
"It's a new initiative, the Agri Innovation Program, what it does is it helps provide funding to ag programs that are new, that are innovative, that use new technology which really fits so perfectly with the announcement we're making today," said MP Candice Hoepnner following the announcement. "Prairie Garden Puree has a process that is brand new to Canada, to North America, it's a process that is only used here and it's the exact kind of project that this kind of funding is specifically geared towards."
"We're going to see not only jobs created we're going to see a huge amount of vegetables that have been grown locally and normally would have gone to waste to be used to make purees," added Hoeppner.
What's great about the puree, said Beaulieu, is that fact that is completely fresh products and cooks in just 14 seconds. In addition, the packaging is recyclable, which demonstrates the commitment to an healthy and energy-efficient product.
"Puree is grounded food and vegetables. We put it into a food process to sterilize them and then we have recyclable packaging that can stay on the shelf for two years. It's not a frozen product and it will save someone purchasing this product 30 per cent. It's never been used for this type of process before and we're the first one locally to do this. It's a great project," said Beaulieu.
Portage MLA Ian Wishart was also on hand at the announcement and said that he's happy to see such positive innovation and job growth in Portage la Prairie through the FDC.
"It's good news in terms of jobs for Portage la Prairie and it's also good news for the farming community. We're going to have new uses for some of the products we've already been growing and I think this is a win-win overall," he said.
"What they provide here is research facility and when you're trying to produce a product like this, it's important to have a research facility that is recognized on a global scale. It's the right move and it'll be good for the FDC because they just expanded and were wondering who would fill the need. It's the kind of seed money that gets things going and I think it'll be a win for everyone involved," he added.
- Jordan Maxwell and Robin Dudgeon
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