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The Transformative Seven: Applied sciences that may drive Canada’s subsequent inexperienced revolution

The Transformative Seven: Applied sciences that may drive Canada’s subsequent inexperienced revolution

The Transformative Seven: Applied sciences that may drive Canada’s subsequent inexperienced revolution

Why we wrote this

Canada wants to steer the world in web zero agriculture, and our organizations wish to play a constructive position in that journey.

To do this, we’ve launched into a long-term analysis venture, rooted in our foundational report, The Subsequent Inexperienced Revolution. We’re following that up with a collection of smaller stories, to discover the alternatives in coverage, human capital, monetary capital and know-how. None of those are a panacea, however in mixture, the themes and analysis may help get us nearer to our shared aim of a extra sustainable meals system.

This report, focussed on ag-tech, reveals the alternatives {that a} vary of applied sciences current to Canada―and likewise the necessity for our nation to be strategic in our strategy. Our group analyzed funding information, sector pathways, and the impression of public coverage, each in Canada and different nations. We additionally labored with the Inventive Destruction Lab’s ag-tech program, based mostly in Calgary, to realize insights into the expertise of entrepreneurs.

Canada has a historical past of manufacturing groundbreaking analysis and improvement, a vigorous ecosystem of startups, and a deep expertise pool that features tech-savvy farmers, world-class scientists and inventive agri-entrepreneurs. We additionally perceive the crucial to advance a simply transition by know-how slightly than pursuing applied sciences for their very own sake.

Innovation will likely be key to the low carbon, sustainable meals methods of the longer term. That is Canada’s second to unlock it.

    John Stackhouse, Senior Vice President, RBC Economics and Thought Management
    Keith Halliday, Senior Director, BCG Centre for Canada’s Future
    Evan Fraser, Senior Director, Arrell Meals Institute on the College of Guelph

Key findings

A brand new technology of agricultural applied sciences might assist reduce potential 2050 emissions from Canada’s agriculture sector by as much as 40%.

Seven particular applied sciences maintain distinctive energy to kickstart the nation’s transformation to a low carbon agricultural producer: precision applied sciences; carbon seize, utilization, and storage methods; anaerobic digesters; managed surroundings farming; livestock feed components; agriculture biotechnology; and mobile agriculture.

However Canada’s share of worldwide funding in these applied sciences is inadequate. And most agricultural R&D funding continues to be drawn overwhelmingly from the general public sector.

Producers, significantly these with small and medium-sized companies, additionally face a lot of key challenges in adopting these applied sciences (together with price and infrastructure). Entrepreneurs, too, will want assist in scaling their improvements.

By leaning on its current strengths, Canada can grow to be a pacesetter in creating rising ag-techs that can outline the way forward for world meals methods.

Canada can lead in a brand new world of agricultural know-how

Think about a bumper crop of wheat grown fully with out chemical fertilizers and utilizing practices that regenerate the soil. Or a swarm of drones that use synthetic intelligence to determine each plant in a area, sniping solely the weeds with a precision spray. Or a recent slice of salmon sashimi that was grown in a bioreactor, not caught from the ocean.

These are among the many game-changing applied sciences enabling the Subsequent Inexperienced Revolution in agriculture. Like improvements that got here earlier than them, they’re accelerating productiveness to assist feed a rising world inhabitants. However they’re additionally taking part in a crucial new position: lowering agricultural emissions and enabling soil to soak up greenhouse fuel emissions.

Whereas agriculture produces 10% of our nationwide GHGs yearly, its core uncooked supplies—soil, vegetation, and animals—additionally maintain virtually unequalled energy to tug emissions out of the ambiance, the place they contribute to local weather change.

Unlocking that energy, and slicing current emissions, will depend upon many issues: together with supportive coverage, a well-trained workforce, and financing. Critically, this transformation may even hinge on know-how—and our success in each creating it by accountable innovation and placing it to work to assist the economic system, the surroundings and particular person farm operators. In earlier analysis, we discovered that technological options might play a serious position in slicing as much as 40% of potential 2050 emissions from Canada’s agricultural sector.1

As a prime exporter of key crops, with broad market entry and a deep historical past of agricultural innovation, Canada is extraordinarily well-positioned to not simply lead the world within the adoption of those ag-techs however within the improvement of them. By participating various actors within the Canadian meals system, we will develop applied sciences which are accountable, inventive, and environment friendly. Certainly, given our benefits, this chance is ours to lose.

We’ve recognized seven key improvements or “ag-techs” we imagine can each meaningfully cut back emissions and current alternatives for Canada to steer. Some, like anaerobic digesters, carbon seize utilization and storage (CCUS) and precision know-how are prepared and beginning to scale now. Others, like vertical farms and plant science will likely be key options within the medium time period. Nonetheless others, like mobile agriculture and precision fermentation, might remodel the meals methods of the longer term.

In each case, maximizing the potential of those improvements means constructing the precise platforms for collaboration amongst not simply farmers and entrepreneurs, however communities, traders, companies, social enterprises, and governments. It’ll imply proving to farmers of every kind that sizeable upfront investments in additional confirmed ag-techs are value it whereas de-risking their leaps of religion into rising applied sciences. We have to additionally watch out that these instruments, a lot of that are capital intensive, don’t damage smaller and medium-sized enterprises and producers and that they’re really deployed to assist Canada obtain each our emission targets and drive a inexperienced financial transition.

Doing this may imply accelerating funding in analysis and improvement—significantly amongst personal actors—and directing extra of it towards the applied sciences that may do essentially the most to chop emissions now. Because it stands, most ag-tech investments in Canada are targeted on productiveness enhancing digitization and automation, which assist enhance yields and enhance farm operations. We’d like extra funding in innovation to advance sustainable and regenerative farming.

Canada’s share of worldwide funding for many key applied sciences is low

International enterprise capital and personal fairness funding in ag-tech since 2017

Able to scale: These applied sciences are already taking part in a job in our effort to cut back emissions in agriculture. They’re developed and commercially out there, however require the precise incentives, financing, and coverage assist to be adopted and scaled.

On monitor: These applied sciences are nonetheless thought-about nascent, although they’re commercially out there. They’ve sturdy potential to assist Canada adapt to the consequences of local weather change and/or cut back emissions, however nonetheless require additional improvement and progress.

Least prepared: These applied sciences are principally within the R&D stage and usually not but commercially out there (not less than in Canada). They’ve immense potential to rework the sector and construct on current Canadian strengths and sources.

Mobilizing personal funding is vital to competing on the worldwide stage

Canadian agricultural improvements could be discovered on fields world wide, from canola seeds invented by Prairie scientists to grain augers first imagined in Manitoba. But as we transfer into a brand new period of low emissions agriculture, a lot of our potential to construct on this energy—utilizing newfound benefits unlocked by synthetic intelligence and information science—stays untapped.

Agriculture has outpaced different Canadian sectors in funding during the last variety of years—a optimistic signal suggesting each productiveness and rising home demand for equipment and gear with extra know-how embedded in it. However main the world on this area calls for extra funding, significantly from the personal sector. For generations, Canadian agricultural analysis and improvement has been overwhelmingly fuelled by public {dollars}. During the last decade, the general public sector accounted for as a lot as 90% of agricultural R&D, in comparison with about 30% in the US.2

Meantime, Canadian agricultural startups and personal corporations have lagged worldwide friends in drawing personal funding. Of roughly US$36 billion in world enterprise capital and personal fairness investments in ag-tech since 2017, Canada acquired simply 3%, or US$1 billion. The U.S. captured US$20 billion or 55%.

Canadian agriculture companies have grown their R&D budgets considerably—not less than doubling them from 2015 ranges lately. However they nonetheless fall far in need of Canadian public R&D funding, which steadily declined as a p.c of GDP because the Nineteen Eighties. As governments in peer nations just like the U.S. and Europe speed up public spending on sustainable agriculture (for instance by way of the Inflation Discount Act, and the European Inexperienced Deal), Canada dangers falling even additional behind. It’s crucial for Canada to maintain tempo on incentives to keep away from inserting our producers and corporations at an obstacle or inflicting a mind drain to different nations. To compete, we’ll want governments to shift extra assist to on-farm implementation and uptake of ag-tech regenerative agriculture practices.

And we’ll want companies to drive extra funding—significantly within the applied sciences that maintain essentially the most promise to maneuver the needle on local weather change.

Agrifood funding has outpaced different industries in Canada

The worldwide race to create the subsequent technology of ag-tech is heating up


Israel, a small nation with little arable land, is already the worldwide chief in digital fertigation. This system employs sensors and cloud-based analytics to find out the focused launch of water and fertilizer straight onto a plant’s roots. Extra lately, the nation has expanded its agricultural focus to develop capabilities in vertical farming and various proteins. Israeli corporations are main the world in funding in plant-based proteins, drawing US$160 million as of the primary half of 2022—22% of all funds globally. Funding in novel protein extra broadly is the second largest globally, together with for aesthetic meats (US$320 million as of the primary half of 2022).3 The business grew 160% within the first half of 2022 with greater than 100 Israeli corporations specializing in novel proteins (and greater than 11 of those created between 2021 and 2022 alone). Israel devotes 17% of agricultural spending to analysis and improvement.


Lower than 1% of Singapore’s land is arable, however that hasn’t stopped it from setting bold agriculture targets. The nation’s “30 by 30” aim goals to cut back its dependence on meals imports by growing home meals manufacturing to 30% of demand by 2030. As a part of this, the federal government is offering funding to assist farmers improve gear and take a look at new know-how on their farms, whereas additionally supporting innovation and ag-tech improvement. Singapore has clear strengths in city and managed surroundings farming (e.g., vertical farms, contained fish farms, and indoor farm factories that use AI and massive information to maximise effectivity), and has extra lately emerged as a hub for the event and regulation of different proteins.4 In 2019, Singapore introduced a regulatory framework for the pre-market evaluation of novel meals and is working with private and non-private sector organizations to assist progress of mobile agriculture startups. It was the primary nation to approve cell-cultured meat for human consumption in December 2020 and is dwelling to greater than 20 cell-based meat producers.


Disaster drives innovation. After the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear catastrophe destroyed most close by farmland, the Japanese authorities jumpstarted a vertical farm constructing growth to exchange misplaced manufacturing. In the present day, Japan has greater than 300 vertical farms—powered by robotic automation and good know-how—to assist keep its home provide of meals, which can also be more and more challenged by the nation’s growing old inhabitants and migration to cities (inflicting abandonment of farmland).5 The federal government’s 2020 Surroundings Innovation Technique goals to develop climate-smart applied sciences, together with by new breeding varieties that cut back CH4 and N2O emissions from agriculture and livestock.

The Netherlands

Regardless of its smaller measurement, the Netherlands is the world’s second largest meals exporter in greenback worth behind the U.S. An agri-food powerhouse, the nation excels at digitizing its greenhouses and fields with good applied sciences. Dutch greenhouses, which account for 80% of cultivated land within the Netherlands, are among the many most superior on the planet. Extra lately, the Netherlands has emerged as a frontrunner in plant-based meals merchandise, pushed largely by improvements from Wageningen College and Analysis Centre. The college is the main analysis hub for the Dutch meals business and also known as “Meals Valley” or the “Silicon Valley of Meals.” Dwelling to a US$94 million plant-based meals innovation centre, Wageningen College works with startups and researchers to develop new vegan merchandise. Almost 200 agri-food corporations are current inside a 10-km radius of the college, making a dense community of collaboration between the private and non-private sectors. There are greater than 60 corporations and analysis establishments targeted on plant-based protein within the nation.6

The Transformative Seven

Constructing a low carbon agriculture sector will likely be a problem in contrast to any we’ve confronted. The excellent news is we have now highly effective know-how to assist us do it. We’ve recognized seven improvements that, if utilized in a approach that’s equitable and supported by producers and communities, maintain essentially the most promise to chop emissions and retailer or sequester them in soil.

A lot stays open to debate. Regardless of how highly effective the potential of a know-how is, it’s by no means a panacea, and must be adopted by producers, accepted by shoppers, and supported by coverage. Too typically previously promising technological improvements have additionally damage communities. Contemplating these tensions, our aim right here is to put out the potential of those improvements to chop emissions in Canada and use this evaluation as a lead as much as successive phases of this collaborative venture, the place we’ll street take a look at concepts with a spread of teams and communities throughout Canada.

Boosting funding within the applied sciences we’ve recognized will likely be key to realizing their potential. Collectively, RBC, BCG Centre for Development and Innovation Analytics and Arrell Meals Institute gathered one of the best out there information on present funding ranges. Nonetheless, a lot of this information stays inadequate or undisclosed. Establishing higher transparency on this area will likely be crucial to monitoring our progress going ahead.

The Drawback

When utilized to fields, nitrogen fertilizer is a key reason for emissions. Moreover, tilling or ploughing the soil churns up carbon saved inside it, releasing it into the ambiance the place it contributes to local weather change.

The Resolution

Precision applied sciences like good tractors collect information on farm productiveness and fertilizer use to empower higher, extra granular choices about the place to make use of inputs and in what portions. Different instruments like air seeders and soil sensors can allow farmers to seed and fertilize land with precision, and allow regenerative agriculture practices like decreased tillage that defend soil high quality and biodiversity. At present 13MT of carbon is saved in Canadian soil. Our analysis means that by embracing this know-how in addition to regenerative agriculture practices, a further 21MT of carbon could be saved in soil by 2050.

Canadian farmers have made strides in adopting some precision applied sciences. In Saskatchewan, as an example, adoption of precision tech has helped 80% of farmers use no-till or conservation tillage. And auto-steering for tractors has been a mainstay on farms for many years. However better adoption of subsequent technology instruments that incorporate superior know-how like synthetic intelligence and automatic robotics—powered by information—might take precision farming to a different stage.

The Challenges

Canada lags the worldwide common in funding in precision agricultural know-how and there are a selection of limitations to adoption amongst producers. To catch up, it should persuade farmers that these subsequent technology instruments will work on their farms. Non-public and public sectors may help show the advantages by establishing sponsored area trials, by organising carbon markets and by offering the info factors and proof essential to show the know-how’s worth to farmers. Defending that farm information may even be key. Given the variance of soil high quality and make-up throughout the nation, farmers usually tend to belief demonstrations when they’re near their very own operations.

Canadian highlight

Precision AI produces synthetic intelligence-powered drones with onboard laptop imaginative and prescient that permit granular choices to be made on the farm. Its drones can determine each plant species it sees on the sphere, and might goal weeds with precision spraying, thereby lowering the usage of chemical substances by as much as 95%. Based in Regina, Saskatchewan in 2017, the corporate has grown to over 40 full time workers globally and raised $20 million in seed funding in 2021.

The Drawback

The manufacturing of nitrogen fertilizer—key to the growth in yields in current many years—entails the combustion of pure fuel and its conversion into hydrogen. Each processes create massive quantities of carbon dioxide which are emitted into the ambiance the place they contribute to local weather change. Our estimates recommend fertilizer manufacturing emits 12 MT of emissions yearly. With out change, emissions will rise to 35MT by 2050.

The Resolution

Carbon seize, utilization, and storage methods (CCUS) lure carbon dioxide emissions earlier than they enter the ambiance, reuse them or compress them into liquid that’s then shipped by way of pipeline to a storage facility. CCUS has the potential to seize and retailer 7MT of emissions by 2050.

Since 2019, Saskatoon-based Nutrien has been utilizing CCUS to seize carbon dioxide from its Redwater plant. This liquid CO2 is then moved by way of the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line to grease restoration initiatives in central Alberta. Nutrien despatched roughly 139,000 tonnes of CO2 by way of this route in 2021.7 However past this, CCUS isn’t extensively utilized within the Canadian fertilizer business. And globally, simply six fertilizer amenities use this know-how.8

The Challenges

To allow widespread adoption of CCUS in fertilizer manufacturing, extra infrastructure is vital. This contains carbon sequestration hubs and extensions of current trunk strains to cut back the monetary limitations confronted by manufacturing amenities. To offer this, we’ll want higher coordination throughout a spread of governments, regulators, and business. Entry to geological area for storing carbon, allowing for main initiatives, authorized legal responsibility, and different advanced technical elements of those initiatives want a cohesive regulatory framework if we’re to extend deployment of capital in carbon seize.

Canadian highlight

Headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., Svante’s know-how permits CO2 to be purified and concentrated inside 60 seconds. This strategy focuses on separating CO2 from nitrogen. Dilute flue fuel (generated in industries like metal and oil and fuel) is diverted to a repeatedly rotating platform the place the CO2 is trapped inside proprietary filters made out of nano supplies with a excessive capability for CO2 seize. It’s then purified and prepared for storage. The corporate’s first industrial pilot take a look at plant in Saskatchewan, in partnership with Husky Vitality (now Cenovus Vitality), is ready to seize 10,000+ tonnes of CO2 per yr. With decrease capital prices than different current options, this know-how makes large-scale business carbon seize doable.

The Drawback

The meals that goes into livestock should additionally come out, which creates methane emissions of about 8 MT per yr in Canada, based on our analysis. With out change, these emissions from manure will rise to 10MT by 2050.

The Resolution

Anaerobic digesters flip methane captured from manure (from cows in addition to pigs, chickens, and different ruminant animals) and off-farm natural waste like crop residue, meals waste and silage into renewable pure fuel, biogas and electrical energy. Digestate, a byproduct, can be used as an natural fertilizer on fields or as dairy bedding. Anaerobic digesters have the potential to chop emissions by 2MT by 2050.

Canada has 279 biogas initiatives which are reworking methane into 196 MW of fresh electrical energy and 6 million GJ of Renewable Pure Fuel (RNG)— the equal of greater than 9 massive hydro dams. And with simply 45 operational digesters within the Canadian agriculture sector as of 2020, essentially the most vital potential for the know-how’s progress is on the farm.9 On-farm anaerobic digesters additionally add one other income stream for farmers prepared and capable of undertake a venture on their land.

In Canada, biogas improvement (together with anaerobic digesters) has been pushed by provincial vitality and waste administration insurance policies. There’s big alternative for progress, particularly in agriculture, the place crop residues and animal manure make up two-thirds of Canada’s simply out there biogas sources. Along with on-farm vegetation, neighborhood digesters have been touted as a pathway to progress, the place their use and prices could be cut up amongst a number of farms and probably even native municipalities.

The Challenges

However funding and improvement up to now is anemic, with simply 29 initiatives underway. (Information on investments in anaerobic digester improvement can also be fairly sparse). The excessive prices for constructing these amenities (within the tens of hundreds of thousands per facility, relying on the scale) are a barrier. Whereas there are vital tailwinds for the business, together with from authorities insurance policies just like the clear gasoline rules and offset markets, better demand for biofuels and derisking constructions like energy buy agreements may even should be developed.

Canadian highlight

DLS Biogas builds biogas vegetation full with distant monitoring capabilities. Biogas vegetation take natural waste (together with manure), seize the methane, and remodel it into renewable pure fuel, electrical energy, and digestate. As a part of its service providing, DLS Biogas supplies feasibility and monetary evaluation, planning and building administration, and full-service operational assist for farmers. The Ontario-based firm is a part of the Dairy Lane Programs household of corporations, which has offered milking gear and different providers to dairy farmers for greater than 30 years.

The Drawback

Typical area farming produces emissions by fertilizer software. Emissions are additionally created when land is transformed to farming, and when meals is transported from the sphere to the grocery retailer. Managed surroundings farming has the potential to assist change the sample of land use change, which if left unaltered, will rise from 4MT to 24MT by 2050.

The Resolution

Greenhouses and vertical farms are one of the best recognized examples of managed surroundings farming, which describes the manufacturing of meals in an indoor surroundings. Vertical farms develop meals indoors in stacked layers.

Vertical farming makes use of solely 10% of the land and requires as much as 90% much less water than typical farming.10 It may well additionally create a secure, native provide of vegetables and fruit, slicing the necessity for emissions-intensive transportation, and enhancing home meals safety. When powered and heated with fossil fuels like propane—as many are actually—greenhouses can truly add to our emissions footprint. However within the longer run, if these operations use low carbon or renewable vitality, they may very well be a supply of low emissions meals. Managed surroundings agriculture additionally permits extra meals to be produced on much less land. When matched with the precise insurance policies to create incentives to guard land, this creates new alternatives to create wildlife habitat and seize carbon in soil. However whereas this tech is viable for microgreens and different greens and fruits, it isn’t presently a possible possibility for different main crops comparable to berries.

Our estimates recommend we will keep away from 20MT of emissions by stopping land use change between now and 2050.

In response to the newest Census of Agriculture, Canada has roughly 5,000 greenhouses and nurseries. Massive investments are additionally being made to develop vertical farming, together with a couple of authorities packages and a $65M funding by McCain Meals.

The Challenges

Prices stay a hurdle. Along with capital prices comparable to land and the buildings themselves, electrical energy bills for LED lighting, which take the place of pure sunshine within the rising cycle, are usually the most important price range merchandise for vertical farms. Vertical farms can’t fairly compete with typical area farming but and operators have struggled with zoning legal guidelines that don’t acknowledge indoor farming as agriculture.

Canadian highlight

Based in 2011, GoodLeaf Farms was impressed by indoor hydroponic farming in Japan. Its pilot farm was constructed close to Truro, Nova Scotia in 2015 and the corporate launched its first full-scale business farm in Guelph, Ontario in 2019. GoodLeaf grows microgreens and child greens year-round utilizing a hydroponic system, together with LED lights and managed warmth and humidity. Its merchandise, together with micro arugula, lettuce, child spinach, and extra, are offered in Ontario.

The Drawback

Annually, a single cow will belch about 220 kilos of methane.11 The methane from cattle is shorter lived than carbon dioxide however 28 occasions stronger when it comes to warming the planet. In Canada, enteric fermentation (the digestive course of in livestock) contributes roughly 24 MT of GHGs.

The Resolution

Scientists have found tips on how to cut back cattle emissions by the intestine microbiome. Feed components like 3-NOP (3-nitrooxypropanol), algae and seaweed dietary supplements suppress the enzyme that triggers the manufacturing of methane. They will additionally assist cows digest meals extra effectively. Components and dietary supplements have the potential to chop emissions by 16MT by 2050.

3-NOP has been proven to chop emissions by as a lot as 45% whereas including seaweed to the eating regimen of dairy cows might reduce emissions by as a lot as 82%. Scientists are additionally working to make sure that this may be carried out with out yield losses—probably even enhancing the effectivity of cattle (that’s, serving to them develop extra utilizing much less feed). 12

The Challenges

The largest problem to scaling feed components is regulatory approval. 3-NOP has been accepted in Brazil and within the European Union, the place it was categorized beneath feed components that provide an environmental profit (streamlining the trail to commercialization). However in Canada, the place it’s categorised as a veterinary drug, it’s unlikely to be accepted for a number of years.

Value can also be a key barrier. And not using a worth on greenhouse gases (comparable to a carbon tax), farmers lack the inducement to undertake methane-reducing components as a result of there’s not but a transparent financial profit—solely an environmental one. Whereas a carbon credit score scheme might assist, there’s nonetheless a heavy burden positioned on the farmer to collect information to realize the credit score.

Canadian highlight

Established in 2007 in PEI, North Atlantic Organics (NAO) produces mineral dietary supplements for animals and vegetation utilizing natural sea vegetation (seaweeds). Inspiration for the enterprise got here to co-founder Joe Dorgan when he tried to transform his dairy herd to natural however was unable to discover a pure supply for mineral dietary supplements. A breakthrough arrived in 2014, when Rob Kinley, an agricultural scientist working with the corporate, discovered that its seaweed cattle combine was ready cut back methane emissions from cow’s digestion by 20%.13 The corporate is presently within the strategy of creating mineral dietary supplements for vegetation and hopes to scale up manufacturing.

The Drawback

Local weather change is leading to excessive climate occasions that may decimate crops. The overuse of fertilizer, as detailed above, generates nitrous oxide emissions.

The Resolution

Agricultural biotechnology makes use of selective breeding, genetic engineering, gene enhancing, and tissue tradition to speed up and complement conventional approaches to provide crops and livestock with fascinating traits, comparable to enhanced illness or drought tolerance (amongst different issues). Its origins are in plant and animal breeding, which have been used for hundreds of years to assist produce new styles of crops and enhance yields. Canola, invented in Saskatchewan within the Sixties, is one instance. Along with breeding, genomic approaches that search to reinforce microbiomes, comparable to within the soil or the center of animals, can allow carbon sequestration or forestall illness. Using ag biotech approaches for carbon emissions discount is comparatively new and within the R&D section.

Ag biotech can create crops that enhance uptake of nitrogen and different vitamins in soil (thereby lowering the usage of fertilizer). It may well additionally create vegetation with better resiliency to illness and excessive climate occasions (like flooding and drought), and optimize soil microbes to enhance soil fertility and increase plant progress.

A few of the most enjoyable agricultural analysis is now going down under the soil, as scientists research the ability of microbiomes and root constructions to counter local weather change. Some are analyzing the potential to regulate photosynthesis to speed up carbon sequestration. Others are creating microbiomes inoculated from illness. Biofertilizers are additionally being developed to safe the atmospheric nitrogen wanted for vegetation to thrive.

The Challenges

Among the many largest limitations to funding in Canada are rules of vegetation with novel traits, that are extra stringent than these of opponents. A survey of plant breeders carried out by CropLife Canada discovered {that a} quarter of plant breeding analysis was halted after initiatives had been decided to be “novel” and thus, topic to PNT threat assessments and approvals that might price as much as hundreds of thousands of {dollars} earlier than a product may very well be commercialized. Seventy-seven p.c of respondents indicated that the PNT regulatory framework wanted to be up to date to replicate present ranges of data. One other 27% indicated they carried out area trials exterior of Canada to keep away from necessities pertaining to PNT varieties.

Canadian highlight

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, based mostly in Summerland, B.C., grows novel tree fruit varieties developed by bioengineering. Its flagship product is the Arctic apple, which doesn’t flip brown when bitten, sliced, or bruised (however does flip brown when it begins to rot). The corporate holds world mental property rights in compositions and strategies for regulating expression of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes to regulate enzymatic browning in tree fruits.

The Drawback

Livestock produce emissions by enteric fermentation and manure, as detailed above. The sample of land use change additionally generates emissions.

The Resolution

Mobile agriculture is a self-discipline that may remodel yeast, micro organism, cell samples and fungi into novel types of proteins that may function options for dairy or lab-grown meat and fish. It has the potential to provide options to livestock and dairy merchandise that require much less land and inputs.

The lab-grown course of is taken into account extra sustainable because it makes use of much less water and land to provide meals and emits fewer greenhouse gases than a area of cows or barn stuffed with chickens. 

And Canada has a plentiful provide of feedstock, significantly carbohydrates, starches, and sugars, which may very well be used for cell-based agriculture merchandise.14 (We presently get rid of leftover starches from peas after its proteins are used to make plant-based meats. This might as a substitute be fed to specifically bred micro-organisms comparable to yeast, which might then be used to make the proteins usually present in dairy merchandise).

The Challenges

Excessive upfront prices make beginning a mobile agriculture firm tough. Investor schooling has additionally been a barrier. Except for a couple of specialised funding companies, entrepreneurs say most traders don’t sufficiently perceive the nuances of meals science to gauge the potential of the vertical. Funding quantities are usually low, with shorter phrases. Entrepreneurs say extra affected person capital is required to develop their corporations.

Canadian highlight

Cell Ag Tech is an Ontario-based mobile agriculture startup creating cell-cultured seafood, with a present give attention to lean white fish. Cell Ag Tech was lately introduced as a winner in Canada’s regional mobile agriculture competitors, AcCELLerate-ON, for its work on scaling fish muscle stem cells in 2D and 3D. Earlier this yr, Cell Ag Tech additionally entered into an settlement to collaborate with the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medication to develop a course of for rising fish cells in bioreactors.

Suggestions: Canada’s time to steer

The Subsequent Inexperienced Revolution relies on each placing prepared applied sciences to work and responsibly creating the game-changing improvements that can outline the longer term. Although different nations are quickly mobilizing their very own sources to perform these objectives, few are as well-positioned as Canada to steer.

The next actions will likely be key to catalyzing the funding wanted to scale the Transformative Seven, in addition to take away key limitations to their adoption. Within the subsequent phases of our report collection, we’ll acquire a greater understanding of how know-how (buttressed by coverage) could be utilized to assist producers (particularly small- and medium-sized farms), foster acceptance by shoppers and be inclusive of all stakeholders.

Create a central funding physique for analysis and improvement. Lots of the most promising and superior areas of Canadian agricultural analysis don’t match inside present funding classes. A extra centralized system, working in shut partnership with academia and the personal sector, comparable to in the US Division of Agriculture, might develop a extra holistic, nationwide view of the place assist and innovation is required. The management proven by federal governments in creating the innovation tremendous clusters supplies a playbook for a way Canada can tremendous cost agri-food analysis and innovation.

Allow commercialization of current analysis. This can require elevated funding for college tech switch workplaces and packages. To unlock Canada’s innate strengths in analysis and improvement, we have to make it simpler for researchers to take their work to business market. This contains streamlining crop science rules that presently require in depth (and costly) trials, and have discouraged some from pursuing improvement in Canada.

Marry agriculture and know-how packages in post-secondary faculties. Future meals methods want extra folks with skills in information science, coding, and synthetic intelligence—a lot of whom are presently drawn to the software program business. Efforts to attract extra of this expertise ought to start early. Re-branding agriculture as a “cool” profession might require native governments and enterprise enchancment associations to re-brand rural communities as fascinating locations to reside—particularly for immigrant populations with STEM abilities. Collaboration with social scientists can guarantee improvements are contextualized to the wants of farmers, accepted by shoppers, and developed responsibly.

Create a Canadian Ag-Tech Silicon Valley. This hub for breakthrough ag-tech innovation ought to allow cross-silo collaboration amongst entrepreneurs, traders, researchers, communities, companies and governments and carry the aim of incubating concepts and supporting the expansion of start-ups and scale-ups. The hub ought to align private and non-private sector gamers round a standard innovation ambition, targeted on choose priorities (such because the Transformative Seven applied sciences outlined above). An instance of that is Rabobank’s Foodbytes! initiative. It features a startup program that gives meals and ag-tech startups with mentorship, business partnership, and funding alternatives.

Create modern tax and monetary incentives to spur extra personal funding. Accelerating personal funding in Canadian ag-tech will imply pondering extra creatively concerning the tax and monetary incentives we have now in place. We have to encourage the automation that will likely be key to our agricultural productiveness and worldwide competitiveness—and that can draw extra capital to the applied sciences that can drive the way forward for low emissions farming. Increasing accelerated depreciation past tangible property to incorporate synthetic intelligence and different ag-techs is one chance.

Develop a complete and clear view of ag-tech investments that’s simply accessible. This could embody all the innovation lifecycle. Information on personal (enterprise capital and personal fairness) funding in startup corporations is mostly out there besides the place funding rounds should not disclosed, however thorough information on enterprise funding in agriculture R&D is tough, if not inconceivable, to come back by. The identical could be stated of ag-specific greater schooling R&D. Filling in these information gaps would give us a view of the know-how panorama and assist us perceive the place we’d like better funding.

Construct communities of early adopters amongst farmers. Farmers take heed to different farmers. A lot of the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices has stemmed from farmers seeing the successes of others—significantly these working with comparable rising situations. This helps ease farmers’ uncertainty concerning the effectiveness of applied sciences with out risking their very own operations. Unbiased demonstration areas are additionally highly effective instruments to show the effectiveness of rising improvements. A lot of this information switch was once carried out by publicly-funded and impartial agriculture extension packages. Extra lately, personal sector corporations have invested closely in utilized analysis packages to assist farmers get absolute best outcomes from their merchandise.

Make it pay. Forcing farmers to pay for emissions they already produce might add stress to excessive meals costs. A greater strategy is to compensate farmers for lowering them. But current fashions like carbon credit are inadequate and place an unequal burden on the farmer. A nationwide normal for measuring the impression of emissions-cutting actions, together with a mechanism for measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) carbon saved in soils, may very well be crucial to compensating farmers and to empowering policymakers and monetary establishments to mobilize assist. This normal—additionally key to attracting funding—will should be designed and controlled on a nationwide foundation and aligned internationally with our main buying and selling companions.

Share the danger. For farmers, adoption of emissions-cutting know-how provides extra uncertainty to a enterprise already weighted with threat. Governments and different corporations within the agricultural worth chain have an necessary position to play in sharing the danger burden. That’ll imply insuring in opposition to yield losses for farmers who undertake sustainable practices. For instance, proper now there isn’t any incentive for sustainable agriculture beneath crop insurance coverage schemes although these practices are confirmed to cut back the impression of flooding and drought. Crop insurers needs to be prepared to regulate premiums to replicate these shifting dangers.


Trinh Theresa Do, Senior Supervisor, Thought Management Technique
Naomi Powell, Managing Editor, Economics and Thought Management
John Stackhouse, Senior Vice President
Colin Guldimann, Economist
Benjamin Richardson, Analysis Affiliate
Farah Huq, Senior Director, Content material Technique
Darren Chow, Senior Supervisor, Digital Media
Zeba Khan, Supervisor, Digital Publishing
Aidan Smith-Edgell, Analysis Affiliate
Kitty Wu, Intern
Gwen Paddock, Director, Sustainability & Local weather – Agriculture
Brenda Bouw, Freelance Author

Boston Consulting Group
Keith Halliday, Director, Centre for Canada’s Future
Chris Fletcher, Managing Director and Accomplice
Sonya Hoo, Managing Director and Accomplice
Wendi Backler, Accomplice and Director, BCG Centre for Development and Innovation Analytics
Youssef Aroub, Undertaking Chief
Pilar Pedrinelli, Marketing consultant
Rachit Sharma, Lead Data Analyst, BCG Centre for Development and Innovation Analytics

Arrell Meals Institute, College of Guelph
Evan Fraser, Director
Deus Mugabe, Ph.D. Candidate, Plant Agriculture
Dr. Jesus Pulido-Castanon, Submit-doctoral Analysis Affiliate
Emily Duncan, PhD Candidate

    Along with these cited on this report, we’d wish to thank the next people for his or her insights:

    • Alice Reimer, Strategic Advisor, CDL
    • Alison Sunstrum, Founder, CEO CNSRVX-Inc
    • Jim Baker, CEO, Cultura Applied sciences (Volaris Group)
    • Simon Barber, Former Head, Asia Pacific Regulatory and Stewardship, Syngenta Seeds, Singapore
    • Wilf Keller, Vice President of Outreach, Agri-Meals Innovation Council
    • Ray Worth, CEO, Sunterra Group
    • Gary Haley, Chair, Haley Household Funding Belief
    • Jay Cross, President, Canadian Academy of Well being Sciences; Professor, College of Calgary
    • Lenore Newman, Canada Analysis Chair in Meals Safety and the Surroundings and Professor of Geography, Simon Fraser College
    • Mark Thompson, Government Vice President, Chief Company Growth and Technique Officer, Nutrien Ltd.
    • Michelle Nutting, Director, Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability, Nutrien Ltd.
    • Dan Heaney, Analysis Affiliate, Plant Diet Canada
    • Tom Steve, Normal Supervisor, Alberta Wheat Fee
    • Jason Lenz, Vice President, Alberta Wheat Fee
    • Dan McCann, CEO, Precision AI
    • Juanita Moore, Vice President of Company Growth, GoodLeaf Farms
    • Janay Meisser, Director of Innovation, United Farmers of Alberta
    • Mauricio Alanís, Director, Sustainability Technique and Partnerships, Maple Leaf Meals
    • Ryan Phillippe, Director, Company Growth, Genome Canada
    • Josh Bourassa, Analysis Affiliate, The Simpson Centre for Meals and Agricultural Coverage
    • Elena Vinco, Researcher and Coverage Analyst, The Simpson Centre for Meals and Agricultural Coverage
    • Guillaume Lhermie, Director, The Simpson Centre for Meals and Agricultural Coverage
    • Lejjy Gafour, President, Cult Meals Science Corp.
    • Francis Rowe, CFO, Cult Meals Science Corp.
    • Jane Church, Company Engagement Supervisor, Nature United
    • Tony Ward, Professor Emeritus, Division of Economics, Brock College
    • Dave MacMillan, CEO, Deveron UAS
    • Derek Eaton, Director of Public Coverage Analysis and Outreach, Good Prosperity Institute
    • David Hughes, President and CEO, The Pure Step Canada
    • Stuart Smyth, Affiliate Professor, Faculty of Agriculture and Bioresources, College of Saskatchewan
    • Kristjan Hebert, Managing Accomplice, Hebert Grain Ventures
    • John Van Logtenstein, Vice-President, Dairy Lane Programs and DLS Biogas
    • John Walker, Walker Farms
    • Scott Walker, Walker Farms
    • Clyde Graham, Government Vice President, Fertilizer Canada
    • Josh Pollack, Co-founder, CELL AG TECH
    • Valentin Fulga, Co-founder, CELL AG TECH

    1. With out change to present practices or market share, we venture Canada’s present agriculture emissions might rise to 137 megatonnes by 2050
    2. Agricultural Institute of Canada, “An Overview of the Canadian Agricultural Innovation System.” 2017. https://www.aic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/AIC-An-Overview-of-the-Canadian-Agricultural-Innovation-System-2017.pdf
    3. The Instances of Israel, “Israeli corporations lead world in plant-based meals tech investments — report,” August 2022. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-companies-lead-world-in-plant-based-food-tech-investments/
    4. Eco-Enterprise, “Is Singapore poised to grow to be Asia’s hub for various protein?,” August 2021. https://www.eco-business.com/opinion/is-singapore-poised-to-become-asias-hub-for-alternative-protein/
    5. BBC Storyworks, “How know-how is reworking Japan’s agriculture” https://www.bbc.com/storyworks/future/the-technology-transforming-agriculture/how-technology-is-transforming-japans-agriculture
    6. Quick Firm, “How the Netherlands grew to become a plant-based protein powerhouse,” November 2020. https://www.fastcompany.com/90573547/how-the-netherlands-became-a-plant-based-protein-powerhouse
    7. Nutrien, “2022 Environmental, Social ESG And Governance (“ESG”) Report,” 2022. https://nutrien-prod-asset.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/uploads/2022-03/Nutrien_ESGpercent20Reportpercent202022.pdf
    8. International CCS Institute. “Services Database,” https://co2re.co/FacilityData
    9. Canadian Biogas Affiliation, “Canadian 2020 Biogas Market Report.” April 2021. https://www.biogasassociation.ca/pictures/uploads/paperwork/membersOnly/2021/Canadian_2020_Biogas_Market_Full_Report.pdf
    10. Columbia Local weather Faculty: State of the Planet, “How Sustainable is Vertical Farming? College students Attempt to Reply the Query,” December 2015. https://information.local weather.columbia.edu/2015/12/10/how-sustainable-is-vertical-farming-students-try-to-answer-the-question/
    11. UC Davis, “Cows and local weather change: making cattle extra sustainable,” June 2019. https://www.ucdavis.edu/meals/information/making-cattle-more-sustainable
    12. Breanna M. Roque, Marielena Venegas, Robert D. Kinley, Rocky de Nys, Toni L. Duarte, Xiang Yang, Ermias Kebreab, “Crimson seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis) supplementation reduces enteric methane by over 80 p.c in beef steers,” March 2021. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247820
    13. CBC Information, “How feeding cows seaweed might assist P.E.I. meet emission targets and increase this enterprise
    Social Sharing,” November 2021. https://www.cbc.ca/information/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-seaweed-feed-methane-emissions-climate-change-1.6228982
    14. Ontario Genomics, “Mobile Agriculture Canada’s $12.5 Billion Alternative In Meals Innovation,” November 2021.



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