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Sask. Food Centre gets $5M funding boost

Workers in the lab of the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre. (John Flatters/CTV News) Workers in the lab of the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre. (John Flatters/CTV News)

As part of Agriculture Month in Saskatchewan, Minister of Agriculture David Marit was in Saskatoon Tuesday to announce $5 million in joint provincial-federal funding for the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, also known as the Food Centre.

“It really is a pleasure for me to announce the funding program for another five years of five million dollars,” said Marit. “So it’ll be one million dollars a year for the next five years for the Food Centre.”

Since it was established in 1997, the Food Centre has been involved with the development and processing of over 1,000 new products for Saskatchewan agri-food companies.

Mehmet Tulbek, president of the Food Centre, says this funding will help them increase capacity to develop new products and market them globally.

“The main thing for them is really developing new products, commercializing new products, fixing some of the problems in quality control or management, or looking at different raw materials section or these type of evaluations,” said Tulbek.

One of the top priorities in the agri-food industry is sustainability, and Marit says Saskatchewan farmers lead the way.

“Our carbon footprint for growing durum wheat and spring wheat is 60 per cent better than any other jurisdiction in the world,” said Marit. “And then yellow peas were more than 90 per cent better.”

Tulbek says origin-based manufacturing is another way to increase efficiency.

“The more we can produce our materials which are world-class, locally, and the more we can produce and sell it globally, that’s really the goal,” he said.

Marit recently returned from an agri-food conference in Mexico where he says innovations from the Food Centre can have major impacts.

“When you start telling companies down in Mexico that they’re putting protein from pulses and they’re putting it into Cheetos, they’re putting it into pastas, they’re putting it into everything and it’s not changing the taste, they’re pretty interested in it,” Marit told CTV News.

“So it’s important and that’s why I felt as a minister and our government feels it’s very important to see this facility grow.”

Funding comes from the Sustainable Canadian Agriculture Partnership, a federal/provincial/territorial investment plan supporting Canada’s Agri-food and agri-products sectors. Top Stories

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