The Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan announced the creation of a new Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA). This initiative will coordinate research and development projects to improve the yield of Canadian wheat by reducing losses under extreme weather conditions such as drought, heat, cold and diseases. "The Canadian Wheat Alliance will improve the quality of Canadian wheat, and enhance Canada’s competitive position in the growing world market," said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, on behalf of the Honorable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "The benefits of this Alliance will flow throughout the entire value chain, strengthening our producers’ bottom lines and our overall economy."
The Canadian Wheat Alliance will invest approximately $97 million over the first five years of this initiative to support research to improve the profitability of the Canadian wheat industry, advance the development of Canada’s wheat crops, and help ensure the global competitiveness of Canadian farmers. The Alliance will also study ways to more efficiently use chemical fertilizers to help improve the environmental sustainability of Canadian wheat.
"Saskatchewan is a leader in agriculture research and production, and this initiative will help to grow our industry and entire provincial economy," said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart. "Our government remains committed to agriculture and this research will help to increase wheat production, open up new opportunities to promote and market Saskatchewan wheat, and provide long-term benefits for our producers."
"With renowned plant breeding expertise available in areas such as our Crop Development Centre, the University of Saskatchewan is a recognized leader in agricultural and food production research," said Ilene Busch-Vishniac, Ph.D., University of Saskatchewan president. "Through this alliance, we will continue to work with our partners to further strengthen the knowledge and tools needed to improve wheat, a crop that brings nearly $4 billion annually to the farm gate in Canada."
This important network combines the expertise of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan. The Government of Canada will invest nearly $85 million in funding and in-kind contributions toward the Alliance. The Government of Saskatchewan has committed an additional $10 million to support wheat research in the province over the next five years, of which $5 million is dedicated to support the CWA activities and leverage contributions from other stakeholders. The University of Saskatchewan is contributing $1.4 million per year in in-kind contributions. The CWA brings together federal, provincial and academic expertise and welcomes the engagement of both public and private sector organizations.
On May 7th, the Government of Canada announced the refocused NRC and outlined how its new structure would bridge the gap between knowledge and discoveries, and industrial innovation. The Canadian Wheat Alliance is an example of the kind of research and technology development that NRC will pursue in order to benefit Canadians.
The National Research Council of Canada is a research and technology organization focused on real-world applications contributing to a stronger and more prosperous Canada. NRC provides access to strategic research and development, technical services and specialized scientific infrastructure.