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Letter: PARC committed to agricultural research
To the editor:
Re: Your article on the Pacific Agricultural Research Centre. (Industries Will Change With Climate, June 27 Capital News.)
Contrary to the impression left by this article, we are committed to a strong future for this world-class research Centre. At PARC and our other research centres across Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada remains one of the biggest single players in agricultural research in the country.
Your article points to a number of global innovations coming out of PARC. This legacy continues with innovations such as the new Salish apple, the product of over 30 years of breeding at Summerland.
Our commitment to science has not changed—what has changed is our stronger alliance with industry and universities, to ensure the science we do remains targeted to industry, and consumer needs.
In the Okanagan, for instance, the innovative partnership between Summerland Varieties Corporation (SVC) and PARC is keeping B.C. fruit growers at the forefront in new tree fruit technology through new varieties, and more efficient and sustainable production systems.
Looking ahead, our commitment to science remains strong. A 41-per cent increase in our science spending under the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) framework has allowed us to increase our investment in the collaborative research science clusters. This collaborative approach, which involves our Summerland researchers, is helping leverage our research dollars for the sector and Canadians.
GF2 also increases our cost-shared investments with the provinces and territories by 50 per cent. For B.C., that means an additional $10.4 million in the Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program over five years. So far, 19 projects have shared more than $1.8 million in 2013-14, including projects transforming agricultural waste into value-added products, and developing new food and beverage products, as well as plant propagation and bio-control measures.
Meanwhile, the Government of Canada is strengthening its science agenda with a strong trade agenda. Recent market access gains, for instance, will double sales of innovative B.C. cherries to China.
While continuing to partner with industry, we remain committed to core research, maintaining a strong network of research centres and offices with the right scientific expertise to ensure the sector remains competitive. PARC has a proud history of 100 years of agricultural innovation in B.C., and we are committed to a strong future for this world-class centre of agricultural research.
Siddika Mithani, Ph.D,
assistant deputy minister,
Science and Technology Branch,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada