Archived — Government of Canada Supports Innovative Technologies to Bring Jobs and Growth to Niagara

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For immediate release
April 27, 2012

A demonstration taking place at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

(l-r) A demonstration taking place at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre – Reiner Schmidt, Harvest Robotics, MP Allison, Minister Nicholson and Koshy Mathew, Harvest Robotics
Source : FedDev Ontario

Vineland Station, Ontario—The Government of Canada is investing $2.5 million in the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre to support the development of innovative horticultural technologies. The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), accompanied by Dean Allison, Member of Parliament for Niagara West-Glanbrook, made the announcement today.

"Our government's top priority remains creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for Canadians," said Minister Nicholson. "This investment will help Canada's horticulture industry become more competitive, and open new markets to businesses participating in this project."

"Our government is proud to support Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in its work to develop innovative technologies that will increase profitability for growers," said MP Allison. "This investment supports the agricultural sector, and horticulture in particular, which is an important driver of Canada's economic growth."

This contribution is provided through FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre will work with local businesses to develop and commercialize two promising horticultural innovations: a robotic automation system for use in greenhouses and nurseries and a frost protection system for use in vineyards, orchards and fields. In addition to supporting economic growth and diversification in the region, this investment will help horticultural operators in Canada and abroad reduce the costs associated with labour and spoilage.

"With investment from FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative, Vineland has brought together partners in technology and automation from non-agricultural sectors to address labour efficiency issues, one of horticulture's largest challenges. This is innovation working at its best - new partners and proven ideas to address some of the unique planting and harvesting challenges that are common to our industry," said Jim Brandle, CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.

For more information on this project and the Prosperity Initiative, please see the backgrounder.

The investment announced today supports the Government of Canada's science, technology, and innovation agenda, which is focused on increasing the country's productivity, creating jobs, and growing the economy.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative, and diversified. To learn more, please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

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For more information, contact:

Michele-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
613-947-2956

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
519-571-6879


Backgrounder

Contribution to Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

FedDev Ontario is providing Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) with a non-repayable contribution of up to $2,511,035 through its Prosperity Initiative. This investment will allow Vineland to work collaboratively with a number of horticultural and local technology companies to help bring two innovative technologies to market. Vineland is also working with Niagara College to place students on these projects.

Adapting robotics and automation to horticultural use

In partnership with AEMK Systems, Anoven, Cambridge Metal Products, John G. Wilson Machine Ltd and Niagara College, Vineland will be adapting existing robotic technologies for use in greenhouses and nurseries to automate the packaging of potted flowers, the planting of bulbs and seedlings, as well as the harvesting of mushrooms.

Other local businesses have committed resources to this project, such as Sunrise Greenhouses, Monaghan Mushrooms and Pioneer Flower Farms.

This project investment will allow Vineland to increase its expertise in automation and engineering, which it will be able to offer other industry partners in the future. In addition, this technology will help the local horticultural industry improve its productivity and cost competitiveness, while the project partners will benefit from new sales opportunities.

Extending frost protection technology to new horticulture uses

Tempwave technology is a system that prevents frost damage by using radio frequency waves to maintain a specific temperature in crops and plants without heating the surrounding air. Vineland plans to work with its designer, Raytheon, to optimize the technology for use on a wide range of tender fruits, including grapes, peaches and apricots, as well as diverse terrains.

This project will allow Vineland to build its expertise and reputation in frost protection. In addition, this technology will help the local horticultural industry by creating a new cost-effective frost protection system that will help minimize crop losses, while the project partners will benefit from new sales opportunities.

For more information, please visit http://vinelandresearch.com.

Prosperity Initiative

FedDev Ontario's Prosperity Initiative is designed to encourage businesses, not-for-profit organizations and post-secondary institutions in southern Ontario to undertake projects that will result in a more productive, diversified and competitive economy in the region.

Funding is available for projects that:

  • enhance productivity, by accelerating the adoption of new technologies, processes and skills to enhance businesses and sectors in southern Ontario to achieve higher output in relation to their investments;
  • diversify the regional economy, by increasing the number of new industries or opportunities in southern Ontario communities or regions with the potential to have long-term impacts on their economic diversity; and
  • build a competitive advantage for southern Ontario, by building on the assets and strengths of southern Ontario businesses and regions to create or expand economic clusters and enhance their global competitiveness.

Applications for funding are being accepted and assessed on an ongoing basis. For more information and to apply, please refer to the Program Guidelines available on the website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.

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