The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture recognizes the need to develop new knowledge and technologies required for improving Saskatchewan's crop and livestock production and processing practices. Saskatchewan producers continually look for current and relevant information to address emerging opportunities and new challenges. Knowledge and technologies developed for producers include: new crops suitable to our environment, crop cultivars that increase yields and quality, improved feeds and forages, increased competitiveness of the livestock sector, and developing opportunities in new markets such as bio-fuels and bio-products.
The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) was launched in December 2012 by its founding partners which include the University of Saskatchewan, the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) and the Government of Saskatchewan. PCS has already committed $35 million to GIFS over seven years while the Government of Saskatchewan has committed $15 million for the same period. Dr. Roger Beachy, a distinguished international scientist has been retained as GIFS' founding Chief Executive Officer and in July 2013 GIFS issued its first Request for Proposals. Multi-disciplinary teams were invited to submit project proposals focused on developing innovative science based solutions that maximize the vitality of the agriculture economy of Saskatchewan by adding value to crop and crop products that have producer, consumer and/or stakeholder benefits, including aspects that contribute to food and nutritional security.
The backdrop for establishment of GIFS is a global population that is expected to grow by 2.6 billion people between now and 2050. As a result, developed countries with significant natural resources have a responsibility to enhance food production to meet escalating global demands for food, feed and fibre. In particular, Saskatchewan, with almost one-half of Canada's agricultural land and a strong history of using cutting edge technology, is well positioned to be a key responder to the global need for food and agricultural products.
At the Saskatchewan Agriculture Wheat Summit in February 2012, Premier Brad Wall announced $10 million in new funding for wheat-related research over the next five years. Five million dollars of this new funding will be allocated to support initiatives under the Canadian Wheat Flagship Strategic Alliance (the Canadian Wheat Alliance or CWA). The CWA was established in September 2012 and in addition to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, its members include the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre, the national Research Council and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The other $5 million are being invested in wheat research through a Special Wheat Request for Proposals under the Agriculture Development Fund.
Traditionally, Saskatchewan has exported resources as primary commodities. Saskatchewan Agriculture recognizes the importance of developing a well-rounded agricultural industry that adds value to products before export. When new knowledge, practices or technology are developed, it becomes important that the information is disseminated to the province's producers. Saskatchewan Agriculture provides project funding that adds value to Saskatchewan products and showcases new research to producers. Knowledge creation helps keep Saskatchewan producers competitive.