TEESWATER –The Government of Ontario is investing up to $22 million through the Agri-Tech Innovation Program to fund more than 170 projects that help the agri-food sector implement new and unique ways to set businesses up for future growth and success while strengthening the food supply chain, creating safer workplaces and making operations more resilient to future disruptions.
“Adapting innovation and technology is key to the success of our agri-food sector,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This is why we’re investing in innovations that will build a stronger, more resilient sector for years to come. From research to farm production, to food processing, adopting new technologies will help strengthen our food supply chain, create new market opportunities and strengthens the economy.”
This investment will build a stronger Ontario through the adoption of new advanced agriculture and food processing technology that improves the productivity of farmers and agri-food processing businesses, address the labour shortage, and support the long-term sustainability and growth of the sector.
Examples of new technology being implemented include:
- A self-driving tractor which includes data collection, will decrease use of chemical sprays, contact between farm workers and deter from traditional methods of bird damage preventions.
- An automated colour sorter machine for the grading and sorting of soybeans which eliminates manual processing, labour challenges and reliance on global suppliers.
- An automated turkey packaging processor and further processing lines which will reduce employee risk of exposure to COVID-19, workplace related injuries and address shortages in meat processing sector.
This funding is in addition to a $2.4 million investment by the governments of Canada and Ontario through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) to support future innovations in more than 20 projects that will turn innovative ideas into marketable products and technologies.
Examples of projects under this stream of funding include:
- Developing technology to create a non-plastic material for use in horticulture and food packaging that also helps prevent soil erosion.
- Developing technology and equipment for apple growers to add efficiency to regular farm activities.
- Investigating the feasibility of alternative energy sources for field crop and livestock producers in Ontario.
“Our Government believes that innovation is essential to strengthen the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in a sustainable way while ensuring the safety of workers,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. This funding will help producers and processors adopt the technologies they need to drive growth and continue to produce healthy, high-quality food.”
As part of the Partnership, the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative worked with Bioenterprise Corporation, a national non-profit business accelerator to engage Ontario-based companies in funding opportunities that will bring new and innovative products to market, helping Ontario’s food supply chain and agricultural practices become more efficient and sustainable. These projects benefit Ontarians by continuing to provide safe and healthy food, enhancing the stewardship of our lands, and increasing trade opportunities for Ontario grown and made food.