Canadian Government Significantly Invests in Canola's Future

Nearly $25 Million from Government and Industry to Boost Canola Demand and Production

WINNIPEG, March 2 /CNW/ - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada announced $14.5 million in funding today for agronomic and nutrition research under a new Canola/Flax Agri-Science Cluster. This funding will be matched by industry and farmers for a total amount of nearly $20 million. An additional $4.6 million of government funding will support the Clubroot Risk Mitigation Project, which seeks to identify best management practices and breed clubroot-resistant canola varieties. All research funding will help the canola industry increase production to 15 million tonnes by 2015.

"With the Canadian government's extraordinary investment in agronomic research, we will accomplish our 2015 goal, which is expected to add $12.5 billion annually to Canada's economy," said CCC President JoAnne Buth. "And the nutrition studies will further increase demand for canola in markets worldwide."

The Canola/Flax Agri-Science Cluster and Clubroot Risk Mitigation Project are part of the Canadian government's "Growing Forward" initiative, which will run from April 2010 until March 2013. The cluster will fund production, oil and meal studies of industry-wide benefit that are not already covered by the private sector.

Production research will target ways to improve crop establishment, nutrition and protection; harvest and storage management; integrated crop management; and sustainability. Nutrition studies will look at canola and flax oils' impact on heart disease risk markers; the effect of canola oil on the prevention and treatment of insulin resistance, inflammation and obesity; canola oil's influence on glycemic control and heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes as well as on blood vessel function in people with healthy and compromised arteries.

"We already know that canola oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat," said Buth. "What we don't know is how canola oil consumption alone may impact the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diet-related medical conditions."

Canola meal studies will focus on the best formulations for dairy cow milk production, the impact of high levels of different types of canola meal in swine and poultry feeds, and improving the carbohydrate composition and energy content of canola meal.

The canola industry's portion of the research funding is derived from CCC core funds as well as SaskCanola, the Manitoba Canola Growers Association and Alberta Canola Producers Commission. The Flax Council of Canada will provide funding and administration for two flax-related nutrition studies.

"The CCC is extremely grateful to the Canadian government for its investment in canola," Buth concluded. "We expect the research funding to have significant long-term payoff with increased canola production domestically and demand worldwide."

SOURCE Canola Council of Canada

For further information: For further information: Robert Hunter, Tel: (204) 982-2126, hunterr@canolacouncil.org

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