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FDC reach new heights 0

By Robin Dudgeon, Portage Daily Graphic

Robin Dudgeon, The Herald Leader....  Food Development Centre (FDC) grand opening, Friday. FDC recently completed a $7.74 million expansion, which will add an additional 18,000 square feet to the facility.

Robin Dudgeon, The Herald Leader.... Food Development Centre (FDC) grand opening, Friday. FDC recently completed a $7.74 million expansion, which will add an additional 18,000 square feet to the facility.

The Food Development Centre (FDC) hosted its grand opening on Friday with many dignitaries and friends in attendance to celebrate the latest expansion to the Centre.

Gathered guests included Premier Greg Selinger, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Ron Kostyshyn, Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner, and MLA for Portage la Prairie Ian Wishart as well as members of local government.

"Thirty-four year ago, the visionaries of the Manitoba Research Council and the federal department of Industry, Trade and Commerce came together with some local vegetable growers in this area to create the first food technology centre in Canada," FDC's chief operating officer Lynda Lowry told the gathered guests. "It was at the forefront of discovery and innovation in the food and feed industry and that is exactly what it continues to be today."

Upon its founding in 1978, the FDC consisted of 3,000 square foot facility and a staff of four.

Since then, it has continued to grow over the years including three expansions. The Centre now houses a staff of 30 and runs eight service lines.

The latest $7.74 million expansion was funded by the Province of Manitoba as well as by the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada's Community Adjustment Fund and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Agricultural Flexibility Fund.

The new 18,000 square foot space will allow the centre to continue to assist producers with using their products in new and exciting ways as well as helping small businesses launch their products onto the market.

All of the gathered dignitaries could agree that the FDC is a great facility that champions not only made in Manitoba products but helps Manitoba get their ideas out into the market and into the world.

Greg Selinger said the future of the economy is going to be innovation, and food will play a very important role in that.

"One of the key sectors of innovation is in food; it's a big world, it's a hungry world and it's a world that's looking for food security, it's a world that's looking for safe foods, it's a world that's looking for nutritional food, and we can add those kinds of values in the Food Development Centre here with the products we're developing," said Selinger.

Selinger was recently in Turkey where he learned that the majority of the navy beans in Manitoba are making their way to Istanbul.

"I don't think many people in Manitoba even know that we're supplying pulses to the rest of the world and we're doing it right out of this province of Manitoba. So the kinds of things that we can develop here in the Food Development Centre can help us to regain our reputation as not only the bread basket of the world but as a place that learns how to feed the world in a safe, nutritious way."

Portage-Lisgar MP Candice Hoeppner said it is the goal of the federal government to only create jobs in key sectors such as food processing but to see those jobs grow in communities like Portage la Prairie where agriculture is such an important part of the community.

"What we're saying is we recognize how valuable innovative places like this are who help businesses add value and help businesses grow," said Hoeppner. "The Food Development Centre has just been a huge example and a very positive example throughout Canada of what can happen when technology, science, and research gets together with farmers, producers, and just good old hard work to get things done for the province and for the country."

robin.dudgeon@sunmedia.ca


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