Ontario's government is helping to grow the province's agri-food and agri-products sectors by launching the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative - a program which will help drive innovation, reduce red tape, and address industry priorities.
Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, this initiative will provide new cost-share funding opportunities to agriculture and food value-chain partners, while encouraging greater collaboration to identify opportunities and address challenges in the sector.
The new Place to Grow program will allow organizations to apply for projects in key priority areas, including:
- Labour supply and training challenges, which is a new category added for this program
- Economic development in the agri-food and agri-products sectors
- Environmental stewardship to enhance water quality and soil health
- Protection and assurance to reinforce the foundation for public trust in the sector through improved assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health
In addition, there is a new category for bold, high-impact projects that are expected to create a sector-wide benefit.
"Ontario's agri-food sector is a huge employer in this province and a source of a wide array of food products enjoyed all over the globe. This enhanced programming will open doors for our agri-food businesses and give them more opportunities to help them grow, innovate and find greater success," said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The first application intake for the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative will open on Aug. 15, 2019 and remain open through Sept. 27, 2019. The second intake will open on Jan. 6, 2020. The program will include planned, predictable future intakes each year of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
The creation of the Place to Grow: Agri-food Innovation Initiative is based on a thorough review of program delivery to ensure maximum value for each dollar invested for farmers and the agri-food sector. As part of this review, it was determined that delivering the program within OMAFRA would shorten the time for approvals and save $600,000 in administration costs which will be reinvested into the program.
To date, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to more than 1,150 projects through the Partnership to help eligible farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.