Feds invest in soybean industry

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The federal government has invested over $800,000 to help the soybean industry develop varieties that match the tastes and demands of the Japanese consumer.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture Pierre Lemieux was in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Aug. 22 on behalf of Gerry Ritz with National Revenue Minister Gail Shea to announce the investment. 

The Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA) will test soybean varieties and related soy products for their individual taste, texture, odour and appearance to find the variety that best matches the demands of the Japanese marketplace. Plant breeders, genomic and bioscience researchers, growers and customers will all be involved in the evaluations. This screening system will identify the biochemical compounds that give soy products their distinct taste and texture, and will link this back to soybean breeding work.

ECODA brings together partners from Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces.  The partners include Sevita International (Inkerman, Ontario and Belle River, PEI), TRT-ETGO du Québec (Bécancour, Québec) the Atlantic Grains Council, and the Prince Edward Island AgriAlliance.  ECODA’s mission is to coordinate the efforts of producers, processors, exporters, researchers, and government organizations in increasing the economic value and impact of the oilseed sector in Eastern Canada.

The soybean varieties being tested were developed during ECODA's 2010 Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Initiative. It received $3.2 million from AAFC's Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) Initiative.  

“ECODA focuses on research that involves supply chain partners and projects that have a direct link to the marketplace,” said ECODA President Rory Francis. “Commercialization of research results will ensure that producers and processors see the return on their $269,000 research investment in this project.” 

Tateno International Inc., an importer and wholesaler company in Tokyo, Japan, has worked with ECODA’s supply chain partner, Sevita International, for several years to import Canadian soybeans for use in its value-added products.

Company president Koichi Tateno said the project “provides all of us with the opportunity to better identify Canadian soybean varieties that can best suit our food market needs.”

The federal investment is made through the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP). 

Organizations: Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance, Developing Innovative Agri-Products, Tateno International

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario Charlottetown Inkerman Belle River Eastern Canada Tokyo Japan

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