BLYTH – The governments of Canada and Ontario are putting $2.76 million into Ontario-led agri-food research to develop new innovative technologies, practices, and solutions to make the sector more competitive and resilient. The money is flowing through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership).
Agri-food research is an important part of Ontario’s plan to bring new technologies and processes to market and address existing issues and gaps in the food supply chain. The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) is supporting 21 projects that provide Ontarians with safer, healthier, and more locally grown and made food items while boosting trade and rural economic development.
“New research and innovation like the projects being announced today are vital to keep Ontario farm and food businesses strong and growing,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Our government will always get behind projects that improve the competitiveness of our sector and support the long-term sustainability of our farmers and processors.”
“We are committed to investing in advanced agri-food research to help this critical sector be more competitive,” said the Honourable Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The results of these research projects are going to help farmers, food processors and businesses across the entire industry with new knowledge, technologies and innovative solutions that will build resiliency into our agricultural practices now and in the future.”
Projects will focus on enhancing food safety, developing innovative production systems and increasing plant health and protection. Examples of research projects receiving funding include:
- Reducing food waste by finding solutions through compostable plastic products and upcycling opportunities.
- Improving training of workers involved in food processing using digital simulations for more interactive safety training in meat plants.
- Enhancing detection of plant viruses using new technologies to help avoid production and economic losses and maintain plant health.
“Research is at the core of what we do at ARIO and today’s announcement helps build on the important work we’re doing at the Institute,” said Lorne Hepworth, Chair of the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario. “We’re proud to work with our government partners on these research projects to drive innovation in Ontario’s agri-food sector and keep our province at the forefront of agrotechnology.”
These research projects offer a unique opportunity to develop partnerships between industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government. The 15 Ontario research organizations receiving funds will train 65 students and leverage an additional $1.6M in funding partnerships with industry and non-government organizations.