QUÉBEC CITY, Québec – Canada's Harper government has given the country’s swine industry a $13 million investment for pork research that will help it to stay abreast with changing consumer demands, enhance disease resilience and continue its focus on animal-welfare measures. Made under the AgriInnovation Program, this investment will help the sector to build on the work done under the previous $9.5 million swine cluster (2010-13).

Led by Swine Innovation Porc, the new cluster is intended to help industry experts, scientists and academics to increase market share and competitiveness by enhancing the nutritional value of pork products. Swine Innovation Porc works with industry, government and academia to facilitate research, technology transfer and commercialization initiatives designed to enhance the profitability of the Canadian pork value chain.

Included in the investment is $2 million for Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) researchers to participate in trials that help reduce production and feed input costs and enhance product attributes and profitability. Industry partners are also providing $4.3 million to support the research projects.

In 2013, Canada was the third largest pork exporter, with sales of $3.6 billion to more than 100 countries.
AAFC's AgriInnovation Program is a $698-million initiative under the five-year Growing Forward 2 framework, designed to support research and development industry-led activities. The first cluster helped improve the quality of Canadian pork by using genomic information and introduced a precision feeding system that reduces feed costs by as much as $8 per pig, among other successes. The new swine research cluster (2013-18) includes industry participation from more than 22 organizations representing all aspects of the pork value chain.

"The continued health of the pork sector is crucial to the Canadian economy,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Our government is proud to work with industry on efforts to stay ahead of the curve by investing in clusters that foster adaptability and sustainability."

"Thanks to Minister Ritz's leadership, this investment in the swine research cluster will allow our industry to engage the best Canadian scientists on critical production and product issues,” added Jean-Guy Vincent, chair of Canadian Pork Council. “Our focus is on research that is aimed at reducing cost and creating more 'game changers' through greater and quicker innovation breakthroughs that will further strengthen our industry."