I want to talk about the fight against the spruce budworm. Some of the work was done in co-operation with Quebec to assess the issue. The amounts invested reflect the relative significance of the issue.
At the time, we worked with the Société de protection des forêts contre les insectes et les maladies, or SOPFIM. A spray was applied to 44,000 hectares of forest on public land. Many things were done in that area. SOPFIM was able to test and improve its strategies for dealing with the budworm. I don't want to give you the impression that the amount invested meant little.
I talked about previous initiatives and our current programs. I worked to establish CED as a regional economic development agency. Our efforts and approach are more focused on helping communities. We often need to vary our activities when a region is highly dependent on a single industry. However, we aren't particularly sectoral.
Over the past few years, our forest industry projects have totalled $14 million. We carried out projects with FPInnovations. We took these types of steps to maximize the scope of our actions. We're working with research centres and FPInnovations, which in turn will help companies even more.
What goes somewhat unnoticed is our work in the manufacturing sector to help the forest industry and all the equipment manufacturers in the sector. We want to help them continue their work and support the industry. I also mentioned our efforts in the biomass sector. Those efforts may not be enough, but we're continuing to work in this area.
We have partners and projects. This is new, and there's an element of risk. Part of our strategy is to provide the best possible conditions. When we work with not-for-profit organizations, or NPOs, our assistance is non-repayable. Our work with companies is repayable assistance. However, this requires patience, because the assistance is interest free. We may wait two or sometimes three years for repayment.
As you probably know, we have teams across the province that are familiar with the stakeholders and the small and medium-sized businesses. These teams are very responsive to their concerns. When a project is under way in the sector, we'll help them. Everyone has their own method, but our approach doesn't just involve calls for proposals. We operate on an ongoing basis. When good projects are presented to us, we listen.
We're continuing to work with representatives of the Government of Quebec and the industries in the areas that they represent to ensure that we maintain an ongoing and significant presence, which will have a positive impact.