Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

News Policy
Ontario opens second phase of Agtech Innovation Program


August 24, 2021
By Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

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Intake for the Innovator Stream, the targeted second phase of Ontario’s Agri-tech Innovation Program, has begun. The $22-million program launched in April to provide up to 60 per cent funding for eligible costs (to a maximum of $750,000) to develop larger-scale collaboration projects aimed at enhancing the health and safety of workers and increasing productivity.

“Investing in new technology will have tremendous potential to help our agri-food industry meet many of the current challenges it faces,” said Lisa Thompson, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.

Intake for this phase focuses on ground-breaking projects where innovation — such as piloting the use of autonomous farm equipment in an operational environment — is new to Ontario, North America or the agri-sector. Funding eligibility will include targeted, specialized, high-impact projects that pilot or demonstrate cutting-edge technology. Projects will require collaboration between at least two agri-food businesses, organizations and agri-food technology providers or developers.

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“Innovation is the driving force of competitiveness in modern agriculture, and the key to protecting our workforce while ensuring long-term success,” said Thompson.

“To be a highly competitive food and beverage processing industry globally, we must be forward thinking on innovation,” said Chris Conway, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario. “This program will make it possible for leaders in technology and business to work together on priority issues such as labour productivity and develop new solutions that will benefit the entire industry.”

“The Agri-tech Innovation Program has been, and will be, instrumental to further mobilize the Ontario agricultural innovation and technology supply chain and support the sector in meeting the demands of today and the future”, said Ian Potter, president and CEO of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. “Working collaboratively to implement innovative business-focused technical solutions and develop best practices is the path forward.”

The Innovator Stream intake runs from Aug. 19 to Sept. 27. Eligible applications will be assessed using a merit-based review process once the intake closes.