Saskatchewan Commits $15M to Global Institute for Food Security

Agriculture Minister David Marit announced a funding commitment today of $15 million over five years to the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan.

Founded in 2012 as part of the University of Saskatchewan’s world-class agri-science hub, GIFS works with its partners to provide expertise and leadership in the discovery, development and delivery of innovative solutions to produce globally sustainable food.

“This kind of substantial commitment is fundamental to keeping our agriculture industry a global leader in technology, production and best practices, and the track record GIFS has established proves it,” Marit said. “Investing in research activities undertaken by GIFS and similar institutions is the first step toward enabling Saskatchewan’s producers to not only stay competitive, but proving that they remain among the most productive, innovative and sustainable in the world.”

In January, GIFS released the results of a two-year study providing evidence that Saskatchewan’s production of five major field crops has a significantly smaller carbon footprint in comparison to regions that export the same products, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy and the United States. The conclusions of the study have become a fundamental aspect of Saskatchewan’s sustainability story and the sector’s increasingly important role in global food production.

“GIFS is grateful for this funding from the Government of Saskatchewan which is an investment in agricultural innovation for the entire sector and will support our operations and mission as we work with partners to deliver innovation for sustainable agriculture and food production,” GIFS CEO Steve Webb said. “The investment will enable collaboration with partners on our market-facing programs, including accelerated breeding, biomanufacturing and policy and regulatory – maximizing Saskatchewan and Canada’s sustainable production of safe and nutritious food for a growing world.” 

The funding for GIFS will provide $3 million each year from 2023-2027 to support its ongoing operations, contributing to Saskatchewan’s agriculture sector through work such as supporting crop breeding through sequencing, bioinformatics and data analytics services or technology development that facilitates commercialization of new products.

“This announcement reinforces our province’s commitment to sustainable agricultural practices,” University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff said. “USask has a storied history of leading agriculture advancements and the funding announced today will allow us to continue our world-leading agricultural research and development.”

The Government of Saskatchewan’s commitment to strategic, long-term investments in research and innovation is essential for continued progress toward the agriculture-related targets in the province’s Growth Plan economic goals for 2030. These include increasing Saskatchewan’s crop production to 45 million metric tonnes and livestock cash receipts to $3 billion, tripling the growth of the technology sector, and growing the value of agri-food exports to $20 billion.

(Government of Saskatchewan news release)

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