TEESWATER – Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson held a press conference at Gay Lea Food Co-op in Teeswater on Nov. 15 to announce a $25 million investment into the agri-food supply chain.
“We continue to stand by our Ontario farmers and most importantly, we recognize the importance of investing in good processing opportunities,” Thompson said. “Agriculture and food processing are a driving force that help power the Ontario economy and will contribute to our recovery and prosperity.”
Thompson, who is also the Huron-Bruce MPP, noted, “we’re very proud of Gay Lea. It’s the oldest creamery in Ontario.”
Rob Goodwill, chair of the board for Gay Lea Food Co-op, said, “We at Gay Lea Foods, and the processing industry, appreciate the investments the Ontario government is making in our businesses and in our communities. Communities are a huge part of what Ontario is built on.”
He thanked the minister for all that she does for the agriculture industry and the community.
The goal of the funding is to incentivize the industry to invest in projects that help address capacity shortages, increase competitiveness in the sector, and create resilience against future disruptions, a media release said.
“This strategic investment will not only boost capacity and competitiveness in Ontario’s agri-food processing sector, it will also position the sector for long-term growth, create jobs, and promote economic opportunities for rural communities,” said Thompson.
Starting in 2021-22, the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund will provide grants of up to $3 million to agri-food processing businesses to invest in capital, equipment, and technology. The initiative aims to increase processing capacity and productivity while also enhancing the food security of Ontarians.
Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy said, “Workers in the agri-food sector have kept our supply chains strong through the pandemic, and Ontario’s agricultural and agri-food sector will play an important role in our province’s recovery and prosperity.”
Specific program details will be available upon the program’s launch in the spring of 2022.