On July 24, the Government of Ontario announced an investment of more than $8 million in 47 Ontario-led research and innovation projects that aim to enhance the productivity of Ontario’s agri-food sector and position it for continued growth. Approved projects seek to 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, provincial minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, in a press release. “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.”
The investment will be made through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance (OAFIA), a collaboration between the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and the University of Guelph that works to advance the next generation of agri-food innovations. The 47 approved 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 the projects, the government is investing approximately $1 million through the OAFIA 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, in a press release. “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; and
- Examining the use of agri-food wastes in novel applications.
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