Government of Canada invests $80 million for fruit crop health
By Canadian Packaging staffFood Safety Centre for Plant Health
Investment will allow for the replacement of the Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, BC with a new crop of modern facilities.
On April 3, 2018, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced an investment of $80 million to replace the Centre for Plant Health in Sidney, B.C.
The Centre is a CFIA (Canada Food Inspection Agency) diagnostic testing, research and quarantine facility, with both laboratories and greenhouses. The Centre was established in 1912, and currently comprises 48 buildings, mostly wood frame, greenhouses and screenhouses.
The new funding, a Budget 2017 commitment, complements recent federal investments in science and laboratory infrastructure proposed in Budget 2018. It also demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to advancing science and research, supporting innovation and growing the economy.
The development of this world-class plant health research facility will provide CFIA scientists and partners with state-of-the-art facilities to advance plant science. Having the right tools is essential to help them develop and partner on new ideas and opportunities to protect and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector, as part of the Government’s goal of attaining $75 billion in agriculture and food exports by 2025.
The CFIA collaborated closely with the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, a long-standing partner of the Centre for Plant Health, as well as other partners to develop a vision and business case for enhanced investment in the facility. The Centre will be developed over five years in continued collaboration with industry, provincial governments and academic partners, providing opportunities for the local community, the province and scientific partners across Canada.
“Science is the cornerstone of the Government’s plan to create good jobs in the agri-food sector and to grow the middle class. The new Centre for Plant Health will provide a space for researchers to advance plant science and develop innovative agriculture solutions for Canadians and to help grow the economy,” states Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
“The Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN) is very pleased with the renewed commitment to plant health and research by the federal government. We expect that the modernized CFIA facility in Sidney will greatly contribute to the mitigation of many viral diseases and other pathogens that currently threaten the Canadian grape sector. A first-generation plant repository combined with state-of-the art diagnostic tools and research will greatly enhance the sustainability of many agriculture sectors in the country,” adds Hans Buchler, research coordinator, British Columbia Wine Grape Council and chair, Canadian Grapevine Certification Network.
Genome British Columbia president and chief executive officer Pascal Spothelfer says: “We applaud this investment by the federal government as it will enable BC’s leading scientists to apply novel technologies, like genomics, to critical agricultural issues such as invasive pathogens and viruses. Canadian import/export markets will be stronger and more competitive because of this investment.”