R&D Cluster to Boost Canadian Pork Competitiveness

by 5m Editor
14 February 2011, at 12:26am

CANADA - Research aimed at improving the competitiveness of the Canadian pork value chain will be the focus of the Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Last May, federal agriculture minister, Gerry Ritz, announced funding for the creation of a Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster.

This past week, the first allocation of research funding was released to the new organisation.

Vice-chair, Stewart Cressman, says the cluster will bring together over 50 researchers working cooperatively at 15 universities and federal research stations across Canada on challenges facing the Canadian pork industry.

Stewart Cressman – Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster

The attempt here is trying to connect researchers across Canada on common issues that would make the pork value chain more competitive.

If we can reduce our costs or get our costs in line with our major trading partner competitors I think that's one advantage.

If we can bring attributes in our pork quality to both our domestic and international markets that point to some superior products, it gives us a market edge there.

I think we have then 'connective-ness' in the research community that for problems that will exist in the future that we have a track record of people working together collaboratively on issues and as these issues come up instead of just tapping one or two researchers on the table we can bring four or five together around a given problem and I think that critical mass brought to bear on an issue is important to get quick resolution of it and then applied to the farm.

As well, one of the other things unique here is that traditionally there hasn't been as much connection between the universities and the federal research stations and I think one of the things that this has allowed is to get that cross pollination to occur between the universities and the federal research stations.

Dr Cressman stresses results of the Canadian Swine Research and Development Cluster's research initiatives must have strong applications at the farm level and the results must be applied within a three- to four-year period.