Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers presented a cheque for $1.2 million to the Food Development Centre (FDC) here today for the expansion of the centre and development of the Food Centre of Excellence.
“This expansion will enhance the ability of the Food Development Centre to provide producers and entrepreneurs with more opportunities to take advantage of new food-related business ventures in today’s rapidly expanding value-added agri-food market,” said Struthers. “It will also further support the training programs offered by the FDC to customers and clients locally, nationally and internationally.”
The expansion includes a one-storey addition to FDC to provide the needed space and infrastructure for state-of-the-art technology and inventory management capability for specialized products. There is also a 6,000-square-foot addition for a learning centre and facilities to enable the co-location of Manitoba Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) food commercialization, food policy and food development expertise into a co-coordinated centre for service to agri-food clients.
The minister noted FDC has seen significant growth in the past three years in the area of food commercialization and related technologies. As a result, it needed to provide specialized equipment, space and capacity to meet the growing needs of agri-food companies in Manitoba and western Canada that look to FDC for service.
The expansion will employ local tradespeople and will be completed by March 31, 2011, he said.
As a special operating agency of MAFRI, FDC has the mandate to assist the agri-food industry in the development and commercialization of conventional and functional foods and natural health products.