I would like to respond to your recent article, “Canada wide grain power coalition fighting research cuts” by putting into context the level of support for core, public-good agricultural research done by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), versus the support we provide for industry-led research.
The Government of Canada has been increasing its investment in core research at AAFC over the past five years – reaching $243 million last year, which supports AAFC’s scientists in making discoveries that make a difference at the farm level. This research includes everything from the innovations in crop varieties, yields and resistance to pests and disease. A perfect example of AAFC’s success has been the development of canola, which now rivals wheat as Canada’s most important and profitable field crop.
The Government is also supporting Canadian universities and commodity groups so that they may do more agricultural research. For example, $336 million is being invested in science and innovation under the five-year federal-provincial-territorial Growing Forward programs. About one-third of this investment has involved more than 200 partner organizations. By bringing together industry, universities and organizations from the entire sector, these research dollars are better focused on achieving real results that will make a difference at the farm gate.
We are also sharing our knowledge of agricultural science at the international level to help meet the global challenge of doubling food production over the next 40 years. We are also a founding member in the Global Research Alliance, a group of about 30 countries coordinating efforts and sharing technology in order to find environmentally-sustainable ways to grow more food.
AAFC strives to strike the appropriate balance between long term and short term research, and between research that retains our vibrant agriculture industry and research that benefits the greater good of people in Canada and around the world.
Marc Fortin, Ph.D.
Assistant Deputy Minister, Research Branch
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada