Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

September 22, 2005 09:56 ET

Consultations to Lead to Agri-Food Science Strategy for 21st Century

KENTVILLE, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 22, 2005) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister Andy Mitchell today launched a series of cross-country consultations to set the stage for a new strategy for Canadian Agri-food science and research.

Canada has a proud history of scientific advances in the agri-food sector that has helped keep Canadian producers at the leading edge of agri-food innovation. These consultations will draw together the ideas of Canada's agri-food science providers, industry stakeholders, academics, innovators, communities and others as building blocks for a new strategic vision for the sector that will reinforce Canada's leadership in agri-food science and innovation.

"Our ultimate goal is to partner with Canada's best scientists and innovators to ensure our science investments equip Canada's producers and processors to remain globally competitive, arm them to continue the drive for improved food quality, and assist them in their role as stewards of the environment," said Minister Mitchell.

The consultations respond to a commitment Minister Mitchell made on June 23, 2005 to engage the full spectrum of players with interests in the agri-food sector in a comprehensive examination of Canada's agri-food science priorities.

In announcing the consultations, the Minister established several core principles, including that the department's national investment in science will be maintained at its current level or better, that research and development activities will be generally maintained in all provinces at current levels, that science undertaken will meet the needs of industry as well as take into account regional variances, that departmental initiatives will be integrated with the research and development planning and delivery done by government partners, universities and industry, and departmental initiatives will work to ensure synergy between researchers and to create state-of-the-art facilities.

"The consultations will help participants identify their long and short-term needs, research gaps, overlaps and collaborative opportunities," says Minister Mitchell. "We're counting on them to let us know where they think we should be heading, and what sort of investments in science and infrastructure we should be making."

Regional consultations will take place at 11 locations across Canada throughout the fall. Provincial representatives will be invited to participate in these talks, as well as at the Agriculture Science and Innovation Symposium, to be held in Gatineau on November 22-23. Moreover, federal, provincial and territorial senior executives are scheduled to meet this fall as part of the consultation process.

As well, Canadians across the country are encouraged to contribute to the discussion through the AAFC web site. These consultations will draw together the ideas of Canada's agri-food science providers, key industry stakeholders, academics, innovators, communities and others as building blocks for a new strategic vision for the sector that will reinforce Canada's leadership in agri-food science and innovation and a business plan for the Department.

The text of a discussion paper and updates on the consultations will be posted on the AAFC web site at


The Development of a Science Strategy

Consultations are key to developing a science strategy relevant to the current and future needs of the agri-food sector. AAFC has a tradition of seeking input from a broad cross-section of agri-food stakeholders, and will use this network for ongoing dialogue with producers, provincial governments, local communities and others. In addition to this established network, AAFC will engage in formal consultations specifically aimed at formulating a forward-looking science strategy. This targeted consultation process is taking place on six fronts:

1. AAFC's Regional Science and Research Advisory Committees are being created specifically to consult producers in all Canadian regions to identify research requirements and results. Meetings will be organized for the following regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, and British Columbia. These regional consultations will be held during the fall.

2. The Value Chain Roundtables organized under the Agricultural Policy Framework are discussions with representatives from all aspects of specific commodities. These discussions will provide producers, processors and other value chain members the opportunity to define science and research requirements in the context of increased market development and export opportunities. AAFC science managers will seek advice from the various roundtables at upcoming meetings over the fall.

3. The Science Advisory Board (SAB) is made up of representatives from the academic community, producer organizations, industry, government, and social and natural sciences. SAB provides advice to AAFC on the strategic relevance of the science and research capacity, capabilities and issues focus of AAFC science and research. The SAB was consulted on June 2-3, 2005. A special discussion on vision, science and research capabilities and priorities will be held in October 2005 as part of this consultation process.

4. The Canadian Agriculture Research Council (CARC) - CARC is an independent organization supported financially by AAFC. It has a large and diversified membership composed of government, producer association, university and industry representatives. CARC identifies agriculture and agri-food priorities and gaps that should be addressed by Canada. Recommendations formulated by CARC are addressed by all the research communities interested in agricultural science, including AAFC. The CARC Executive Committee were consulted at their August meeting in Saskatoon.

5. Internet feedback is sought from individuals or groups wishing to participate in the process. Visit for more information.

6. Agriculture Science and Innovation Symposium is the culmination of this consultative process. Its goal is to bring all stakeholders together to review the results of consultations to date and develop a holistic national approach to the further development and implementation of the AAFC strategy for science and innovation. Participants will include federal and provincial decision-makers for science and research, participants in the regional consultations representing producers and regional interests, community representatives, the university community, and key industry representatives. The symposium will be held in Gatineau on November 22-23, 2005. Eleven regional consultations will also be held in October around the country.

Areas of Research

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has prepared a discussion paper as a starting point for talks leading to a new science strategy. The strategy will help guide appropriate R&D investments that address the needs of producers and of Canadians. The paper sets out the role of AAFC science within the context of the Canadian agri-food sector, Government of Canada and the research community, and proposes eight key areas of research to help the sector achieve sustainable profitability and growth in the 21st century.

These key research areas are:

Bio-resources research to enhance ability to respond quickly to bio-security, environmental and food safety risks and economic opportunities through bio-resource information systems and authoritative knowledge of bio-resources. This research area includes:

- characterization of bioresources
- characterization of soils
- germplasm preservation
- support to sanitary and phytosanitary regulations
- surveillance of emerging pests and invasive species
- management of gene flow
- genetic tracking of animal and plant in food and non-food

Crop production and health research to prevent catastrophic losses
from diseases, pests and climate change in agriculture through risk
management strategies including enhanced germplasm, beneficial
management practices and integrated pest management (IPM). This
research area includes:

- cereal production
- oilseed production
- special crops and pulses production
- horticulture crop production.

Animal production and health research to enhance livestock health and
welfare through innovative nutrition, stress management and disease
control strategies for intensive livestock production. This research
area includes:

- beef production
- swine production
- poultry production
- dairy production.

Sound environmental animal production research to advance Canada's
environmental agenda through innovative management strategies for
intensive livestock production. This research area includes:

- reduction of greenhouses gases
- management of nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients
- reduction of biological contaminants; and 4- management of
wildlife habitat and natural ecosystems.

Sound environmental crop production research to advance Canada's
environmental agenda through innovative crop production strategies
and systems. This research area includes:

- reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increased carbon
- reduction of contaminants by nutrients, pathogens and pesticides
- harmonization of commercial agriculture with natural ecosystems.

Food safety research to enhance food safety through detection,
characterization and control of food borne hazards. This research
area includes:

- control of food borne allergens
- control of food borne residues
- control of food borne micro-organisms
- development of hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP).

Food quality research to enhance human nutrition and wellness through
conservation of the composition and functional properties of food
throughout the value chain. This research area includes:

- conservation of food properties in post-harvest storage
- conservation of food properties in processing
- conservation of food properties in packaging
- conservation of food properties in retailing.

Bio-agro processes and products research to capture market
opportunities for the Canadian agriculture and agri-food system
through innovative production systems and development of innovative
uses of biomass for bio-industry and food sectors. This research
area includes:

- development of new crop opportunities with climate change
- development of organic production
- development of functional foods and nutraceuticals
- development of non-food products
- development of bio molecules
- development of bio-platforms
- development of new bio-processes.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 or 1-866-345-7972
    Minister Mitchell's Office
    Matt Tolley
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059