Canada invests in clean technology for greenhouse pest management

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

SDTC investment will help greenhouse tomato growers increase crop yields

April 18, 2019 – North Vancouver, British Columbia

A strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand. That’s why the Government of Canada is supporting the development of technologies that lead to less pollution, healthier communities and the creation of well-paying middle-class jobs.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced an investment of $3 million to increase the crop yield of greenhouse growers.

This investment in Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc. supports an autonomous AI-powered platform for pest management and yield prediction technology that will increase the crop yield of greenhouse tomato growers while reducing spoilage and eliminating the need for pesticides. Ecoation’s technology uses autonomous robots, light and laser-based chemical measurement and machine learning to detect early signs of stress in plants in large-scale farms and greenhouses. This technology allows growers to find and fix their crop problems faster. It will also result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and chemical consumption.

This project received investment and support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which helps Canadian entrepreneurs accelerate the development and deployment of globally competitive clean technology solutions. This investment will contribute to maintaining 25 jobs at Ecoation and creating 23 additional ones.

Investments in clean technology are part of the Government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to position Canada as a global leader in innovation and create good middle-class jobs right across the country.

“We are boosting growth in Canada’s clean technology sector to foster the growth of Canadian technologies and companies. The technology developed by Ecoation will have a positive economic and environmental impact on the ever-growing farming industry.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The future of innovation is in clean technology. There are opportunities to make money and create jobs in industries all across Canada. That’s why the government is making clean tech a priority. We are securing Canada’s international leadership position today so all Canadians can reap the benefits of this fast-growing market now and into the future.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“With a rapidly increasing demand for food production, farmers are actively seeking environmentally and economically beneficial ways to increase crop yield. SDTC is investing in Ecoation’s technology because it provides greenhouse growers with a chemical-free means of improving their yields through early plant-stress detection.”

– Leah Lawrence, President and CEO, Sustainable Development Technologies Canada

“At Ecoation, we believe access to clean food is a human right. Our made-in-Canada technology democratizes healthy eating. Our platform captures and digitizes the knowledge of growers and translates the signals of stressed plants before symptoms become visible. We use robotics and AI to expand growers’ presence and push their knowledge beyond the boundaries of time and geography. Through this platform, we can pinpoint issues at the earliest stages and eliminate the need for pesticide applications. Ecoation merges the art and science of food production. We are extremely honoured to receive this investment, which will enable us to take our Canadian technology to the global stage while creating more jobs and opportunities here in Canada.”

– Dr. Saber Miresmailli, Founder and CEO, Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc.

“The information gathered by the Ecoation robot would be extremely helpful for increasing efficiency and reducing risks within our operations in Delta. We would highly endorse this as being a valuable project for the future sustainability and profitability of the greenhouse industry in Canada.”

– Casey Houweling, Proprietor, Houweling Greenhouses

Quick facts

  • The world is taking notice of Canada’s clean technology leadership: 12 Canadian companies were recently recognized on the 2019 Global Cleantech 100 list. Of those, 10 have received support from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. That’s 10% of the world’s leading clean tech companies.

  • According to the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association, growers lose up to 10% of their crops to pests and diseases each year.

  • Ecoation’s technology enables growers to find and fix their crop problems faster, minimize loss and gather more insight about their crops, thereby increasing yield. The technology also enables more robust yield prediction that further reduces spoilage and brings economic benefits to growers.

  • SDTC has invested over $1 billion in more than 300 companies, creating 12,000 well-paying jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 13.8 megatonnes annually.

  • Budget 2017 set aside more than $2.3 billion to boost growth in Canada’s clean tech space. That’s the largest public investment ever committed to this area in Canada.

  • Clean tech companies can get advice from a team of experts from across government through the Clean Growth Hub. The Hub provides a single, easy point of contact for connecting with clean technology programs and services.

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