Zone Agtech: a “Silicon Valley” of innovative agricultural technologies is being formed

A revolution is taking place in the agricultural world of Quebec these days as the first buildings of Zone Agtech, a world-class innovation zone in agricultural technology and plant bioproducts, located in the MRC of L’Assomption, are officially under construction.

About 15 km2including in particular the site of the former Electrolux factory, some forty agritech companies from Quebec and elsewhere settled down to innovate together, grow faster and increase their influence in Quebec and internationally.

This is just the beginning: in five years, a 15-kilometer section2 should include capacities from 100 to 150 small, medium and large companies specializing in agricultural technologies or the production of plant bioproducts.

At least, that’s what one of the leaders of the project, the mayor of the city of L’Assomption, Sebastian Nadeau, foresees.

“The closure of the Electrolux factory in 2014 prompted us to look for new ways to revitalize the MRC de L’Assomption,” he says. Since 76% of the MRC de L’Assomption is agricultural and there are already several horticulturists in addition to the horticultural research centre, the idea seemed obvious. »

This idea was to create an innovation zone that pursues the mission of bringing together and promoting Québec innovation in agricultural technology and promoting it within Québec and internationally. Today, MRC de L’Assomption not only attracts innovative Quebec and international companies capable of developing economically viable solutions, but also creates synergies by bringing them together to develop technologies and accelerate their marketing.

The creation of Agtech Zone would not have been possible without the support of various members of the MRC de L’Assomption. From left to right: Dominique Mass (Table of Prefects Lanaudière), Sebastien Naudeau (City of the Assumption), Steve Plante (City of Epiphany), Eric Chartres (CieNOV), Chantal Deschamps (City of Repentigny), Georges Robinson (City of Repentigny), Marilou Cyr (Zone Agtech) ), Michel Champagne (city of Saint-Sulpice) and Geoffrey Bouchard (MRC of L’Assomption).

About fifteen companies were already participating in the project when it was officially launched on February 6, 2020.

“The goal is to lead us to food sovereignty by actively promoting the acceleration of technologies that allow production for 12 months of the year,” said Mr. Nadeau, noting that the Agtech zone is focused on production in a controlled environment and therefore especially in greenhouses.

Enterprises in the ATZ are also required to take advantage of the MAPAQ Greenhouse Business Development Support Program as well as Hydro-Québec’s feed-in electricity tariffs for their projects. “We require every building in the Agtech zone to have a rooftop greenhouse,” Mayor L’Assomption said. We will create spaces dedicated to production, research and innovation. »

Such a project should encourage young people to settle in the region, and the agricultural technology zone should lead to the creation of 2,600 jobs, he said. “We didn’t take the easy route, but the environmental and human aspects are very interesting,” he says. We have bold environmental values, and we think that by attracting newly converted citizens, we could take the brave even further. »

From start-up to large company

Like any good ecosystem, Agtech Zone relies on a combination of companies of all sizes.

Toddlers will soon be welcomed into the incubator and accelerator at Carrefour Industriel et Experimental de Lanaudière, a recognized plant research center in Quebec, and at the main 400,000 sq. meter Zone Agtech building.2 construction is due to begin this fall. The rest will settle around, within a radius of 15 km.2 planned for this project.

Businesses, especially the smallest ones, are already benefiting from numerous types of support. In addition to the benefits of a help desk in innovation project management, commercialization and funding, they have access to alternative sources of funding up to $250,000. They also have the opportunity to test their innovations and products under development in the Zone’s greenhouses and test plots, as well as gain access to specialists from educational institutions who can support their project.

The Open Innovation Program is also offered to mature companies to identify market trends and innovations that interest them. In doing so, Agtech Zone is currently collaborating with the Canadian Space Agency, Cycle Momentum and Innov HQ, as well as Producteurs en serre du Québec and Association des producteurs maraîchers du Québec.

And the project is currently experiencing rapid growth, emphasizes Marilu Cyr, Project Director of Zone Agtech. “We are already negotiating with 47 companies of all sizes,” she notes, adding that each of them must first go through a selection process.

“The Committee ensures that each selected company contributes and will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the Zone through their complementarity or their experience. »


Agriculture of tomorrow

The Agtech Zone is a place of innovation, strategic networking, knowledge and business acceleration designed for companies specializing in the agricultural technology and plant bioproducts sectors. In addition to being a unique place to grow, it offers a variety of programs and specialized services to promote your business and help it grow. Here are some of our members.

Alliance Solutions

Your partner to reduce the impact of labor shortages! Our experts develop and implement specific solutions to increase your productivity in the short term. Service Provider Agri-Conseil.

Nexus Robotics

Farming has always been about having the right tools to get the job done. We provide next-generation tools to farmers who are reinventing how farms work. We offer flexibility and freedom to those who create the future of agriculture. We make sure that the farms are ready for tomorrow.

Millennium Technologies

Your environmental concerns fuel our passion. We are transforming agro-industrial waste by combining unrecycled plastic and biomass to produce sustainable biomaterials.

Bioponix

The most efficient biotechnological cultivation method for greenhouses. With an innovative system based on living earth biology and precision cultivation, the Bioponix system combines 100% organic product quality, ease of use, high yields and environmental responsibility.

Chris Labs

ChrysaLabs is developing a real-time soil health and fertility analysis solution that will enable agronomists and agricultural producers to better manage their fields, reduce over-fertilization and practice more sustainable farming.

HRVST

HRVST is a vertical farming technology company that designs, manufactures, markets and services large scale farming systems. Designed to grow independently and optimize several different crop types at the same time, the systems provide unrivaled row-by-row climate control to cope with unexpected climate changes.

Lapalme Agrotech

Lapalme has developed the SAMI 4.0 robot to automate fruit and vegetable harvesting. Thanks to artificial intelligence, robotics and advanced vision, it selects only identified products up to 40 rows wide.

winter farm

More productive, greener, more profitable farms. Ferme d’Hiver is creating an agro-industrial center to increase Quebec’s food autonomy and seeks partnerships with gardeners. For more information please contact us!


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