In the heartland of Canada’s agricultural landscape, a transformative initiative is taking root, promising innovation and economic growth. The Product Development Program (PDP), a collaborative endeavor between the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, stands as a beacon of support for the agricultural and food processing sector in its early stages of product and process development. Its mission is to nurture strategic projects that enhance the value of Canadian agricultural products and usher in a more prosperous future for Saskatchewan’s agri-businesses.
The PDP’s primary mandate is to catalyze the creation of novel value-added products and processes. By offering financial assistance to access world-class technical service hubs in Canada, this program is determined to significantly elevate the value of Canadian agricultural products in Saskatchewan. “It steps in with funding at the early stages of product development, before companies invest in equipment or personnel to scale up product or process commercialization within their own facilities,” said Emma Laing, PDP Program Coordinator. The PDP subsidizes the costs of accessing these services, thereby enabling companies to lower their capital risk associated with new product development. This facilitates early engagement with the technical service industry across Canada, helping companies make more informed choices on the path to commercializing their value-added products. The outcome is not only higher revenues but also a strengthened global presence in the market for value-added goods.
The core objectives of the Product Development Program are diverse, each contributing to the broader goal of reinforcing Saskatchewan’s position in the value-added products market:
- Increase Value-Added Revenues: The program is committed to boosting revenue generated from value-added agricultural products by promoting projects that significantly enhance value throughout the production and processing chain.
- Enhance Value-Added Processing: By providing targeted funding, the program stimulates advancements in value-added processing techniques and technologies, thereby empowering agricultural products to achieve higher market value and competitiveness.
- Foster Innovation: The PDP supports research and development efforts that culminate in the creation of innovative value-added products, prototypes, and processes. This commitment ensures that Saskatchewan remains at the forefront of agricultural innovation.
- Reduce By-Product Waste: Sustainability is at the heart of the PDP. The program promotes resource efficiency by supporting projects that minimize by-product waste through responsible and environmentally friendly means, either by elimination or re-use.
- Expand and Nurture Businesses: The PDP is dedicated to nurturing the growth of value-added businesses in Saskatchewan. By providing the necessary financial backing to access technical services in the early stages of development, it empowers them to expand their operations with proven data, explore new markets, and establish themselves as key players in the global value-added product landscape.
The PDP is not merely about fostering innovation; it’s about creating lasting positive impacts on the agricultural sector. This initiative builds a vibrant and resilient ecosystem that benefits both producers and consumers, contributing to the overall prosperity of the province.
A pivotal aspect of the PDP is its eligibility criteria, which invites applications from agricultural value-added processors meeting specific conditions:
- Value-Added Products: Eligible projects involve upgrading raw primary agricultural products or further upgrading a processed product into a new product.
- Canadian Inputs: Processors must incorporate an identifiable portion of inputs originating from primary agricultural commodities grown or raised in Canada.
- Saskatchewan Operations: The applicant’s operations and tax payments must be within the Province of Saskatchewan.
- Canadian-Grown Products: The proposal/product must demonstrate substantial use of Canadian-grown agricultural products.
- For-Profit Organizations: Applicants must be for-profit organizations.
The PDP can fund eligible activities conducted at a contracted, third-party technical service provider, including technical service costs, product development, test processing, assessment and development of process & manufacturing technology, and specification development.
The PDP’s funding source is the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and it is administered by the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre. Approved applicants may be reimbursed up to 50% of eligible project expenses, to a maximum of $10,000 CAD.
“In a world where innovation is paramount, the PDP is a vital resource for businesses seeking to thrive in the ever-evolving agricultural and food processing landscape,” said Laing. “We are accepting applications until December 15th, 2023. I encourage Saskatchewan agri-business to reach out to me for more information.”
The PDP transcends mere funding; it’s a catalyst for growth, innovation, and sustainability in Saskatchewan’s agricultural and food processing sector. By supporting businesses aiming to create value-added products, the PDP propels the province toward a brighter and more prosperous agricultural future. In a world where adaptability and innovation are key, programs like the PDP are indispensable in ensuring that Saskatchewan’s agricultural sector thrives on the global stage.
Thank you to Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre for submitting the article and photos.