FedNor funding will help support agri-food producers and organizations to innovate, expand and create jobs across the region.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
The Government of Canada, via a FedNor investment, is providing $407,195 in support of agri-food business innovation and expansion in Northern Ontario.
By investing in innovative technology to increase production, the government of Canada is giving Northern Ontario farmers, it is hoped, better access to the tools they need to maximize production, increase food supply, and boost economic growth, and innovation is key to doing this to create jobs and increase production.
The announcement was made by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor. Viviane Lapointe, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, and Marc G. Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages also participated in the event.
“Across Northern Ontario, farmers and agri-food producers are working tirelessly to ensure a stable food supply for their communities. By investing in the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance, our government is helping to drive innovation that will contribute to increasing food production at a time when feeding Canada and the world is more important than ever,” stated Bibeau.
A FedNor contribution from the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program will enable the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) to grow the region's Innovation Ecosystem leading to business expansion, innovation, exports, jobs creation, and the growth of the agricultural sector.
“Our government believes that innovation and technology are key to creating the economy of the future. We are proud to support new, innovative technologies that will help Northern Ontario’s producers and organizations maximize operational efficiencies and improve product quality to become more competitive globally,” added Hajdu.
Agri-food in Northern Ontario supports 8,117 jobs and contributes $541 million to the provincial GDP.
Guided by its industry-based committee, NOFIA will advance agricultural research and innovation in Northern Ontario through market and infrastructure development and applied research tailored to the needs of farmers’ operations.
NOFIA will continue to serve as a coordinating body, strengthening linkages and building or expanding clusters to increase commercialization and enhance productivity within farming enterprises.
It is expected that 20 full-time jobs will be created and 40 existing positions maintained. Once fully implemented, this strategic initiative is also expected to help expand or modernize over 150 existing and create an additional six new businesses, forming and maintaining approximately 150 new important strategic alliances in the agricultural and agri-processing sector.
NOFIA will also organize a series of sector workshops, training sessions, and Farm Day events across the region, as well as continue to host the annual Northern Ontario Ag Conference that brings together producers and researchers to share their research and best agriculture practices.
Added Yves Gauthier, President of NOFIA: “We are grateful to FedNor for seeing the value in conducting research to develop more innovative methods of enhancing the productivity of regional farming enterprises. We look forward to working with our many partners in the agriculture industry to promote innovation and help increase the marketability of locally-grown products across Northern Ontario.”