The Government of Canada has invested nearly $4.4 million to help Nutra Canada develop a facility for producing fruit, vegetable and medicinal plant extracts that will benefit Canadian producers.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), took the opportunity during his visit of the company's facility in Champlain, Mauricie, to make the important announcement. The amounts invested have enabled Nutra Canada to develop a new technology and build a customized facility that now gives Canadian farmers the opportunity to reach lucrative new markets.
"This project increases the demand for our farmers' products, thereby providing them with the possibility of reaching lucrative new markets", said Minister of State Blackburn. "The Government of Canada congratulates Nutra Canada on the official opening of this innovative facility that now also responds to consumers' demands for healthier and more environmentally friendly products."
Minister Blackburn announced federal funding for Nutra Canada on behalf of several sources: -- nearly $1.7 million to the project from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), including: -- up to $1.5 million in repayable funding under the Agri-Opportunities Program, and -- up to $227,000 under the Developing Innovative Agri-Products Initiative, -- $1.9 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), -- $682,500 from Canada Economic Development for Quebec regions (CED), and -- $66,000 from the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
The Nutra Canada Inc. manufacturing facility will use an innovative process to extract the bioactive substances from fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants to be sold as ingredients to manufacturers of nutraceuticals, cosmetics and functional foods. This project is expected to create significant demand for medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables, including ginseng, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, spinach and broccoli.
The project has other economic and environmental benefits. It has already created 11 new jobs and is expected to create 16 in total by 2012. The new process uses plant residues from food processing facilities to produce the extracts, reducing the amount of waste going to landfills.
"The start-up of a company such as Nutra Canada Inc. in the regional county municipality of Les Chenaux will definitely stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit and diversify the regional economy. Canada Economic Development is proud to be an early partner of this dynamic SME that operates in a promising niche for the Mauricie region, namely agri-food", stated Minister of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec) Denis Lebel.
"Nutra Canada's innovative technology will offer additional revenue for local producers by creating higher value goods from agricultural waste," said SDTC President and CEO, Vicky J. Sharpe. "This is a great example of the concrete economic benefits that clean technologies can have on Canada's traditional sectors, and SDTC is pleased to help Nutra Canada with the commercialization of this technology."
In addition, NRC-IRAP supported Nutra Canada with a contribution of $66,000 in non-repayable funding through related projects. NRC-IRAP also provided technical expertise and helped increase the company's innovation capabilities by introducing the company to experts, providing intelligence on technical and commercial issues and on intellectual property (patents), and offering support in obtaining additional funding from other partners.
"We truly appreciate the federal government's financial, professional and scientific support. As part of sustainable development efforts promoting biogases, this funding will enable us to set up unique facilities in Canada for manufacturing standardized dry fruit, vegetable and medicinal plant extracts destined for fast-growing nutrition markets", said Nutra Canada Inc. President, Mr. Andre Gosselin, who added that his company was proud to contribute to adding value to fruits and vegetables grown and processed in Canada.
The Agri-Opportunities Program is a $134 million program that enhances the competitiveness and prosperity of our agricultural sector by supporting new innovative agri-products, processes or services that are currently not commercially produced or available in Canada and that are ready to be introduced into the marketplace.
Funding is provided to projects that focus on new agri-food, agriculture or bioproducts that can be expected to increase market opportunities for the Canadian agricultural industry across the value chain and increase the demand for primary agricultural products. For more information on the Agri-Opportunities Program, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/agri-opportunities (http://www.agr.gc.ca/agri-opportunities) .
Sustainable Development Technology Canada
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) is an arm's-length foundation created by the Government of Canada and has received $1.05 billion as part of the Government's commitment to create a healthy environment and a high quality of life for all Canadians. SDTC operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The $550 million SD Tech Fund supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund supports the establishment of first-of-kind large-scale demonstration facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels. SDTC operates as a not-for-profit corporation and has been working with the public and private sector including industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the financial community and all levels of government to achieve this mandate. For more information, please visit http://www.sdtc.ca/ (http://www.sdtc.ca/) .
Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
Canada Economic Development's mission is to promote long-term economic development of Quebec's regions by paying special attention to those regions where economic growth is weak or those lacking adequate productive employment opportunities. To find out more about the program and services, visit www.dec-ced.gc.ca (http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca) .
National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program
The National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program was established to support the development of new technologies and their successful commercialization in a global context. NRC-IRAP, on behalf of the Government of Canada, plays a major role in stimulating innovation in Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises.
NRC-IRAP's contribution to Nutra Canada's launch was part of a larger funding contribution of $427,000 to les Fraises de l'Ile d'Orleans for research projects that led to the establishment of Nutra Canada.