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Ontario’s hazelnut industry receives multiple investments

Ontario’s hazelnut industry receives multiple investments

The funding will help develop orchard management practices and drought mitigation strategies

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is investing nearly $500,000 to help with the development of Ontario’s hazelnut industry.

The Ontario Hazelnut Association (OHA) will receive $492,052 through Growing Forward 2’s AgriInnovation Program. The funds will be used to enhance the development of hazelnut trees, develop strategies to mitigate drought stress and establish production techniques to multiply hazelnut plants for commercial use.

Ontario hazelnut growers planted more than 240 hectares (600 acres) of trees in 2015. OHA has a goal of 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of hazelnuts planted by 2027.

And the investment will help hazelnut producers achieve that goal.

“We love to see the support from the federal government for this new industry,” Andrew Nixon, project coordinator with OHA, told today. “It’s really encouraging to receive significant funding like this so we can lay some of the groundwork we need to get the Ontario hazelnut industry moving.”

Left to right: Barbara Yates, Ferrero Rocher, Andrew Nixon, Ontario Hazelnut Association, MP Peter Fragiskatos, Wayne Caldwell, University of Guelph, and Les High, Ontario Hazelnut Association.

The federal government isn’t the only entity showing support for Ontario’s hazelnut industry.

OHA will also receive funding from Ferrero Canada, the University of Guelph and The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation.

In total, OHA will receive close to $1 million in three years.

“This project is a catalyst for future growth of Ontario’s hazelnut industry,” Nixon said. “It’s very important to get that research and development process funded and allowed to grow.”

The province’s hazelnut processing industry also received financial support today.

Ferrero Canada’s Brantford, Ont. facility will receive $11 million from the Ontario Government to complete a $90 million expansion.

The funding is from Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund.

The expansion will help Ferrero build a new cocoa bean processing plant, increase manufacturing capacities, implement new manufacturing processes and installing a new wastewater treatment system.

“These projects are enabling us to create new jobs in our facility and also externally through our suppliers and partners within Brantford and the surrounding area,” Fabrizio Secco, managing director, Ferrero Canada, said in today’s release. “We are very proud to be the first Ferrero plant outside Europe to process raw cocoa beans.”

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