A new agritech innovation centre will officially open at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus this fall.
Announced Thursday (July 21) in Abbotsford, the provincial government will be funding “as much as $6.5 million over three years” for the centre. The federal government previously announced $10 million over five years through its Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan).
The new B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation, according to a release from the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, will “further position the province as a world leader in agricultural technology, helping to improve food security in B.C. and around the world, while creating hundreds of good-paying jobs.”
The SFU Surrey-based centre will “bring together academia, government and industry partners … to create more productive, diverse and resilient food-supply chains.”
Ravi Kahlon, the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, said the past two years have been “challenging” for British Columbians ” as the pandemic, climate-related emergencies and global conflicts have disrupted supply chains and raised the cost of food.”
“Launching this BC Centre for Agritech Innovation will improve productivity here in B.C., meaning more food will be grown closer to home, leading to lower costs associated with transporting food. Simply put, this centre makes us a global front-runner in agritech.”
Meantime, the centre has started taking applications from small- and medium-sized agritech operations throughout the province.
It will be focused on developing, testing and piloting solutions in “simulated and real-world environments to be farm-ready for commercialization.”
“The B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation will directly improve the lives of people across the province by accelerating the research and development of new technologies in the agritech space—and ultimately creating stronger, more sustainable food systems in our region,” said SFU President Joy Johnson.