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Canadian Agri-Food Innovation Shines with Approval of First Conventionally Bred High Oleic Soy Variety

Soybean farmers and value-added processors now have more options with a new conventionally bred, non-Genetically Modified (GM) high oleic soybean variety soon to be available. After five years of research and development by Winchester, Ontario-based Sevita Genetics, the new variety received approval from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) this month.

The achievement is a result of Canadian agri-food innovation and collaboration among Sevita Genetics and several development partners, coordinated by the Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance (ECODA), and funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative.

High oleic soybean oil is generally considered to be more stable in cooking and frying applications, contains a better taste profile, and has been shown to offer a number of benefits when used in animal feed. A Soy Canada Research Strategy Workshop in 2016 projected a demand of over 4 million metric tonnes of high oleic soybean oil by 2024 in the US alone, with no consideration of genetic modification status.

“This is a first for Canada, and one of the few non-GM high oleic soy varieties in the world,” said Dave Hendrick, founder of Sevita Genetics. “The newly approved Sevita non-GM variety will have access to both the EU and Japanese export markets and create an excellent opportunity for Canadian value-added processors in North America.”

The conventional breeding program was a Canada-Japan collaboration beginning with the high oleic plant developed by Dr. Anai, of Saga University. The Regulatory Review Program was led by Steve Howatt of Atlantic AgriTech of Prince Edward Island.

The improved health and physical properties of the new soybean line is sought after worldwide and will give the Canadian soy supply chain a competitive edge.

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food commented on the achievement. “The new high oleic soybean variety shows how Canadian research plays a key role in supporting Canadian producers in today’s highly competitive international marketplace. This is a truly impressive accomplishment for the Eastern Canada Oilseed Development Alliance that will create more market opportunities for Canadian soybean farmers while providing the world with healthier plant protein options.”

Sevita will be contracting with Canadian growers for production in 2022 and expects first year planting of up to 1,000 hectares.

About Sevita
Sevita is a Canadian, family owned soybean company, with a mission of innovation – commercializing science. Their research program and variety selection decisions are driven first by the agronomic needs of Canada’s premier soybean producers and then by the food trait demands of the global consumer. Sevita Genetics has one of Canada’s most extensive food grade research programs for NON-gmo soybeans. Their proprietary varieties are released to one of Canada’s leading exporters of Canadian grown NON-gmo soybeans, Sevita International, for protein sales to the discerning global consumer. Sevita Genetics is particularly proud of its latest achievement with the release of Canada’s first NON-gmo high oleic soybean. Special thanks are due to Dr. Toyoaki Anai in Japan and to Dr. Jagdish Kumar and Mark Macduff of Sevita Genetics for their skills in conventional plant breeding that led to the development of commercial varieties that are adapted to Canadian production. Value to the Canadian producer and the global consumer will continue to drive the future research work at Sevita.

Established in 2009, the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance (ECODA) is a private, non-profit based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. By facilitating oilseed supply chain partnerships to drive innovation, manage risk, and capitalize on economic value, ECODA benefits oilseed growers, processors, and exporters in Eastern Canada. This work contributes to Canada’s ability to maintain and strengthen our global market share for soybeans, canola, other oilseeds and related plant protein, oils, and value-added products.

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