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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Championing Agri-Food Research

GUELPH – The Government of Ontario is investing over $8 million in 47 Ontario-led research and innovation projects that will enhance the productivity of Ontario’s agri-food sector and position it for continued growth. Approved projects will help farmers protect animal health and welfare, enhance plant health and protection, drive economic development, and support improvements to environmental sustainability.

“Ontario-led research is helping our farmers, processors and agri-food businesses be more competitive on a global scale,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Tier 1 projects, our government is helping to develop the technologies and innovations needed to advance our agriculture and food industry.”

These investments are being made through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph that works to advance the next generation of agri-food innovations. The 47 approved Alliance research projects will focus on providing support for rural communities, keeping our food supply safe, and developing a prosperous, environmentally sustainable agri-food sector.

As part of these 47 projects, the government is investing approximately $1 million through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance Special Initiative Program in the Braiding Food Systems: Co-Constructing Indigenous Seed Systems in Northern Ontario for Food Sovereignty, Security and Climate Adaptation project. This project uses a community-based approach to address food insecurity and climate change impacting Northern Ontario First Nations communities.

“Our government has an ambitious plan to address food insecurity in northern, rural and Indigenous communities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Northern Development. “Through partnerships with tremendous institutions such as the University of Guelph, we are delivering on our promise to support farmers while ensuring every community has access to healthy, nutritious food so they can thrive.”

Other projects selected for funding include:

  • Managing soybean pests to promote sustainable yields

  • Optimizing immunity in poultry to reduce impacts of potential disease

  • Diversifying the value chain for expanding markets in the brewing industry

  • Examining the use of agri-food wastes in novel applications

“Through the power of partnership, the University of Guelph drives innovation and brings farm-tested research to the table, in Ontario and globally,” said Dr. Charlotte Yates, President, University of Guelph. “The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs investment in world-class U of G research is vital to advancing a sustainable, competitive agri-food sector that makes a difference to the environment, to businesses, to producers, to communities and to the health of people, animals and planet.”

This initiative supports the goal outlined in the Grow Ontario Strategy of increasing agri-food innovation and adoption. The technologies and best practices developed through these projects will help strengthen the agri-food sector and ensure an efficient, reliable, and responsive food supply for Ontario and our international partners.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance will be launching their next research funding opportunity in the fall of 2023.

  • The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance is a significant economic driver for the province. The 2023 Alliance Agreement builds on the success of the government’s previous agreement, which increased Ontario’s GDP by $1.4 billion and supported more than 1,300 jobs.

  • In 2022, Ontario's agri-food industry contributed $48.8 billion in GDP to the provincial economy and supported more than 750,000 jobs.

Additional Resources

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