Brain food

In February 2008, the provincial government announced it would work with "industry, academia and other agencies to establish an agri-food and bioproducts innovation centre." But efforts to establish such a centre, which have been ongoing for years, have failed "due to lack of support and understanding of the value of technology and innovation to agriculture beyond the food processing industry." This, according to a document posted on BC Bid earlier this month. So the ministry of agriculture and lands is hoping to change that by hiring a contractor to raise awareness about the value of that virtual centre - which has been rebranded as an alliance. The document states the alliance, which is scheduled to be up and running by 2014, will "provide one-stop information and business networking services for the sector." The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned bid document.

1. Summary of the Requirement

The Ministry is seeking proposals from independent consultants or consulting firms able to provide stakeholder engagement services towards the establishment of a BC Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. The engagement strategy will create awareness of the Alliance within the Agri-Food Sector as well as a broader audience. It will communicate the Alliance's offerings with regard to economic development, job creation, population health and climate adapation. The stakeholder engagement strategy includes brand development, documenting and filming the progress of up to 4 pilot projects, developing preliminary content and advising on the required structure and functionality of a full-service, social media-activated web portal and account manager service. The proponent will work closely with other contractor(s) responsible for other components of the Alliance including governance structure, resource and service inventory, web-platform development, pilot projects and programs.

The proponent will also provide support to a MAL project manager.

The project will be led by the Ministry's Innovation Unit.

The project will commence December 1st, 2009 and complete March 31, 2010.

2. Additional Definitions

In addition to the Request for Proposals Definitions set out in paragraph 1 of Section A, throughout this Request for Proposals, the following definitions will apply:

a) "Alliance" means the BC Agri-Food Innovation Alliance
b) "Initiative" means the BC Agri-Food Innovation Alliance initiative

3. Ministry Situation/Overview

The Ministry requires assistance with the development and implementation of an extensive multi stakeholder engagement strategy.

3.1 Ministry Responsibility

The Ministry has entered an agreement with the federal government to establish a BC Agri-Food Innovation Alliance by 2014. The first phase of the initiative is being led by the Ministry's Innovation Unit. The plan is to have an industry governed body take over the initiative in 2010.

3.2 Background

The BC Agri-Food Innovation Alliance initiative will deliver on long-standing commitments to establish a BC Agri-Food Innovation Centre and provide one-stop information and business networking services for the sector. The Alliance will leverage existing innovation and technology resources available throughout the province.

The initiative has been broken down into two phases; Stakeholder Engagement and Business Development.

Phase one, Stakeholder engagement, is to engage a broad audience by communicating the public benefits of the Alliance towards investment and job creation opportunities through innovation in the agriculture sector. The goal is to transfer responsibility to an industry-governed body for Phase 2, Business Development, as soon as possible. This body must represent the needs of the entire agri-food value chain.

Past attempts to establish a BC "centre" have failed due to lack of support and understanding of the value of technology and innovation to agriculture beyond the food processing industry.

1 Comment

Maybe individual farmers have too much experience of being asked to pay for the tools used by special interests to provide for themselves. We had some good initiatives in place to assist marketing of BC agricultural products but the Liberals trashed those. They prefer helping friends who get contracted as consultants over helping the industry's small players.

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