Canada supports agriculture drone project
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Catherine McKenna, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced an investment of up to $600,000 under the Innovative Solutions Canada program for four new projects.
One of the projects focuses on Expert Systems Inc., based in Winnipeg, MB, which will be testing a drone-based technology that uses artificial intelligence to provide a more affordable and fully autonomous crop protection and spraying solution. The project goal is to help reduce herbicide and pesticide use, as well as operational costs for producers.
“These innovative solutions are great example of the transformation that is underway in Canada's agriculture and environment sectors,” said McKenna. “Our government is proud to see Canadian small businesses at the forefront of finding solutions to environmental challenges that affect Canada and our planet as a whole.”
In announcing this new four-project investment, the Government of Canada explains climate change is destabilizing the environment, bringing more extreme weather and ultimately have adverse effects on the economy. It’s goal under the program is to support the innovations of small businesses and entrepreneurs who can protect the environment and create environmentally progressive solutions for the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the important role innovators and entrepreneurs play in our economy,” said Bibeau. “The four projects announced [for this initiative] have the potential to make Canada’s agriculture sector more profitable and sustainable, and we look forward to seeing the results.”
Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) is a major federal investment program, targeting up to $100 million to support the scale up and growth of Canada’s small business entrepreneurs by having the federal government act as a first customer, thereby leveraging its purchasing power.
Before Canada becomes a full-scale customer, however, each of the four business in this new project will receive up to $150,000 to help solve challenges in the agriculture sector. Two overarching ISC challenges issued by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are addressed by the funding: Improved Composability of Bioplastics and Scaling Down Precision Agriculture.
If successful at the proof of concept stage, the projects are each eligible for up to $1 million under Phase 2 of the ISC for prototype development. The government may then act as a first customer. In addition to Expert Systems, the other three projects include:
• EcoEnviro Labs Inc. will test a new organic bioplastic mulch made from poultry feathers. This is a lower-waste, fully biodegradable and compostable way to produce mulch needed in Canada's agriculture;
• Titan Clean Energy Projects Corp. will be testing a food-grade quality bioplastic, ideal for fruit or prepared vegetable containers, that biodegrades more quickly, meaning less landfill and more sustainable options for grocery stores and shoppers; and
• Troo Corporation will test the viability of its idea for an agricultural Internet of Things. The smart data hub will collect data from existing farm management tools and bring them together in one place, reducing the research and operational costs for small producers and increasing the adoption of precision agricultural practices.
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