Ontario Strengthening Agri-Food Value Chain in Northern Ontario
Provincial investment helping expand agri-food networks
April 14, 2023
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
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EARLTON – The Ontario government is providing up to $100,000 to the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) to study, assess and grow the network of agri-food producers, processors, distributors, procurers, and consumers in Northern Ontario.
“NOFIA is uniquely positioned to examine ways we can establish a stronger agri-food industry in the region,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This investment will equip businesses in Northern Ontario with critical information to help farmers and agri-food businesses expand their market reach and build a stronger supply chain.”
Through this investment, NOFIA will conduct research and case studies, compile market strategies, host business networking sessions and develop workshops that will result in:
- a directory of food producers across the northern region
- a best practice guide for local food procurement practices for remote communities
- marketing support to increase the consumption and availability of local food in northern and remote communities
- resources that support food literacy in Northern Ontario
- business-to-business meetings and tours that encourage new market opportunities.
“As Ontario’s population grows, our ability to produce high volumes of quality food must keep up with the pace as we position ourselves to join supply chains nationally and globally,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development. “Northern Ontario presents a unique opportunity to meet these demands, and we are proud to support the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance, which has an outstanding track record of advancing innovation in the agricultural sector.”
This investment builds on previous actions that support the resilience of Northern Ontario’s food supply chain and helps reach the ambitious goals set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy.
As announced in the 2023 Budget: Building a Strong Ontario, the government is also launching the Veterinary Incentive Program and a new Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program, in collaboration with the Universities of Guelph and Lakehead, to address veterinarian shortages in rural and Northern Ontario.
- Northern Ontario has approximately 711,000 acres of farmland, with about 696,500 acres in production in the northern districts of Kenora, Rainy River, Thunder Bay, Algoma, Manitoulin Island, Cochrane, Timiskaming, Sudbury, and Nipissing (2021 census).
- Northern Ontario is home to well-established dairy, beef, grain and oilseed, potato, fruit and vegetable, and rainbow trout industries. The 2021 census showed that 1,782 farms generated $238 million in gross farm cash receipts.
- Ontario’s agri-food sector supported more than 750,000 jobs in Ontario last year and contributed $47.6 billion to the provincial economy.
Rural and North
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