"The plan for growth positions Saskatchewan as a global leader in food security and innovation by 2020," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said. "Advancing Saskatchewan's agricultural advantage allows us to significantly increase the global food supply - our moral obligation as a good global citizen - while building the next economy, an innovation economy, here at home."
PotashCorp's investment represents the largest donation in the company's history and reflects its deep commitment to food security. The donation is one of the largest corporate donations for university research in Canada.
"Food security remains our biggest challenge as populations increase and diets change, putting immense strain on food production," said Bill Doyle, President and CEO of PotashCorp. "We need to help farmers around the world produce more food, ensure it's safe and nutritious, and get it efficiently to those who need it. As the world's largest producer of crop nutrients, supporting food production is a mandate for our company and we believe this institute can play an important role in improving global food security."
The institute will be based at the University of Saskatchewan, a world-renowned centre of excellence in agriculture and food-system related research.
"Over the past century, the University of Saskatchewan has led far-sighted research and innovation to help grow a province and feed a growing nation. Now, through this innovative partnership and its bold vision, we will build on our strengths and provide new research solutions across the food supply system to help feed a growing world," said Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, president, University of Saskatchewan. "This collaborative institute will create unique opportunities for cutting-edge science and policy research that will attract top faculty and students and put Saskatchewan on the global map for food security research."
The institute will build on Saskatchewan's existing strength in crop production systems through new investments in technological, economic, nutritional and environmental improvements to the food supply system at home and around the world. It will take a strategic approach to the food supply system - for example, breeding for higher yield, improved nutrition and better processing traits, looking at how soil quality affects the nutritional value of crops, and adapting prairie zone crops to available soil and water.
With today's complex global food system, the research leadership the new institute will provide is urgently needed to develop not just the new science and technologies to increase food production and nutrition, but to impact the policy agenda so that changes can take place to improve how the various parts of the food system interact.
Focusing on crops grown in Saskatchewan as well as those grown in many other parts of the world such as wheat, lentils, peas and canola - essential sources of food for a significant portion of the world's population - the institute will develop transferable solutions that can be applied to relevant regions and partnerships around the world.
The partners have signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining the institute's mandate, funding, structure and governance. A search for the institute's initial Executive Director & CEO is underway.
Background information and video will be available for download at www.globalinstituteforfoodsecurity.org following the webcast of the media conference.
About the University of Saskatchewan
As one of Canada's top research universities, the University of Saskatchewan is at the forefront of Canada's efforts to become a global innovator in solving food security challenges. The U of S has one of the world's largest hubs of food security researchers—more than 160 scientists and social scientists with expertise across the food system—along with relevant research infrastructure unparalleled in Canada, including two of Canada's major science facilities (the Canadian Light Source and VIDO-InterVac) and a dynamic campus cluster of more than 70 agricultural-related centres.
As the world's largest crop nutrient company, PotashCorp plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. With global population rising and diets improving in developing countries, crop nutrients such as potash, phosphates and nitrogen offer a responsible and practical solution to help produce the food we need, from the land we have.
About the Province of Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth outlines a vision for being a global leader in food security and innovation by 2020. This will be achieved by increasing crop production by 10 million tonnes; increasing exports of agricultural and food products from $10 billion to $15 billion; increasing value-added production, processing and innovation; and establishing Saskatchewan as an international bioscience leader. Over the last number of years, Saskatchewan has strategically and systematically built an excellent agricultural research and development cluster. The establishment of the Global Institute for Food Security builds on Saskatchewan's natural, intellectual and infrastructural resources, and positions Saskatchewan to simultaneously benefit from the increasing global demand for agricultural products while meeting its social responsibilities as a good global citizen.
For more information, contact:
Kathryn Warden, Research Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Donna Rehirchuk, Sask Agriculture
Bill Johnson, PotashCorp