Projects focused on bees, barrels and mushroom harvesting have won $150,000 in the province’s second Agritech Innovation Challenge.
The challenges three winners were announced August 2 following an assessment by Innovate BC and the BC Ministry of Agriculture. The winning projects each receive $50,000, mentorship and the support needed to validate relevant market demand.
The winners include researchers at Simon Fraser University working under chemistry professor Erika Plenter that are seeking to develop a non-toxic compound for controlling varroa mite in bees.
BarrelWise Technologies Ltd. of Vancouver, which has developed a system that allows wine barrels to remain sealed while winemakers monitor the contents during aging was also selected. Finally, Technology Brewing Corp. of Salmon Arm, which is developing a robot that can harvest and pack mushrooms, was chosen for its potential to address the shortage of agricultural workers.
This year’s edition of the Agritech Innovation Challenge officially launched on April 17. It targeted three areas for innovation: food processing, food traceability, and precision agriculture. Shortlisted parties were required to submit proposals by June 24.
Demonstrations of the award-winning projects is scheduled for the Pacific Agriculture Show in January.