Ontario’s agri-food growth strategy outlines the province’s plan to ensure an efficient, reliable, and responsive food supply and address ongoing vulnerabilities through new innovations. The sector’s vulnerabilities include labour shortages, outdated supply chain infrastructure and declining processing capacity.
The plan focuses on three key priorities:
- Strengthen Agri-food Supply Chain Stability: Increase both the consumption and production of food grown and prepared in Ontario by 30 per cent, increase Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturing GDP by 10 per cent and boost Ontario’s agri-food exports eight per cent annually by 2032. This includes opening applications for the $10 million Food Security and Supply Chain Fund which will provide funding for projects such as updated inventory software, expanded warehousing to allow increased inventory levels or automation equipment to address labour gaps. The province is also strengthening its food processing capacity and food security to position the sector for growth through the $25 million Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund.
- Increase Agri-food Technology and Adoption: Boost research infrastructure, advance the uptake of new technologies, grow the market for Ontario innovative technologies domestically and globally, and grow the use of data to support efficiencies in the agri-food sector and value chain. The province will also begin consultations on modernizing the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario Act to fuel innovation and support efforts to provide modern, relevant research information to farmers and agri-food businesses.
- Attract and Grow Ontario’s Agri-food Talent: The province aims to increase total agri-food sector employment by 10 per cent by 2032, as well as increase awareness of modern, high-tech agri-food careers, opportunities for mentorship and hands-on job training.
Of note, OMAFRA is planning a trade mission with businesses to Japan and Vietnam in February 2023.
Source: OMAFRA November 28 2022 news release