Nutravim Nutraceuticals of Moose Jaw has opened Saskatchewan’s first manufacturing centre for nutraceuticals. The 6500 square foot, C$1.3m (US$844,000), GMP facility can enscapultate any powder, granular or tablet ingredient into hard gel capsules, up to a rate of 120,000 capsules an hour. The facility’s packaging line can bottle and label at a rate of 60 per minute.

A second phase of construction, to begin in 2002, will see the addition of tableting facilities. When completed, the plant will employ 15 people.

The company says that the opening of the plant is the result of the fast growing natural health and health food industries in North America.

“Saskatchewan is in an ideal situation to cash in on this booming new industry, ” says Nutravim’s Brad Grimes. “We grow some of the best natural health crops in the world and are known for having a healthy, natural environment.”

Saskatchewan farmers grew over 30,000 acres of a diverse assortment of herb and spice crops in 2000. Farmers, who have switched to herb and spice production because of market pressures to diversify, now have the security of a local processor who can add value before export. Nutravim has received taxpayer support for the project, including a C$135,000 investment from The Agri-Food Equity Fund (AFEF) and a C$400,000 loan from the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO).

By Arthur Hanks, correspondent