The first project of a cross-prairie initiative was announced by the federal government on Wednesday, which will ultimately focus on Canadian canola and hemp.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, delivered the news at Calgary-based Botaneco.

The oilseed ingredient manufacturer is partnering with Corteva Canada and Rowland Farms to develop processing technology for canola and hemp crops in an effort to produce new, higher value oil and protein products.

"A total of $8 million will be invested in research to support the commercialization of new processing technology that will yield a variety of oil and protein products not currently available," said Bill Greuel, CEO of Protein Industries Canada.

"The global demand for protein, as everyone knows is enormous and one of the crops we really see as having potential is canola," said James Szarko, President and CEO of Botaneco. "Going forward here, we have a great opportunity in front of us.  These are high value markets that haven’t been served for many years from agricultural crops.”

Bains says the research will benefit Canadian processors by ultimately leading to 'the commercialization of a new plant-based ingredient products for the food ingredient, livestock feed and aquaculture markets.'

This is all part of the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, which is a long term program investing in five major hubs across the country, including Alberta.

It is expected to create 50,000 new jobs and contribute $50 billion to Canada’s GDP over the next 10 years.