Cases and Policies
Handbooks of Research on Clusters series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson
Chapter 13: The Saskatoon Agricultural Biotechnology Cluster
Peter W.B. Phillips, Camille D. Ryan, Jeremy Karwandy, Julie L. Graham and Tara L. (Procyshyn) Williams 1 Introduction Agricultural activities have not been traditionally considered one of the prime areas where one might observe economic agglomerations and clusters. The traditional tie between farmland and production has tended to spread the industry widely throughout countries and the world. But, as the sector has industrialized and technology and product innovation has accelerated, there has been a tendency for parts of the global agri-food supply chain to colocate. Agriculture-based clusters are inevitably going to diﬀer somewhat from more traditionally based industrial districts or milieux. Given that agriculture is a geographically based industry, it is likely that fewer clusters will be observed, and those that do will only involve agglomerations at discrete points in the supply chain. While there is some potential for food processing-based clusters to emerge, they will be limited by their reliance on often widespread input supply. The agriculture biotechnology cluster that has developed in Saskatoon is one such example and is unique in North America. With a predominant focus on oilseed crop development, it is the only identiﬁable industrial cluster that is almost solely agriculturebased. The Saskatoon-based agricultural biotechnology cluster thus oﬀers insights into one facet of cluster development. A key driver of the Canadian economy, the agricultural and food sector provides one in seven jobs across the country. As of 2000, the sectors also accounted for 8.3 per cent of the total Canadian Gross Domestic Product...
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