Investments Research Smart Farming

Empowering Ontario’s Agri-Food Future

Ontario's $16.5M investment enhances agri-food research and global competitiveness through Sustainable CAP.
Key Takeaways:
  1. Robust Investment: The Canadian and Ontario governments are investing up to $16.5 million through the Sustainable CAP to enhance agri-food research and innovation projects.
  2. Multi-Year Funding: The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) will disperse funding over multiple years, encompassing applied research, pilot projects, knowledge translation, and commercialization.
  3. Priority Alignment: Projects funded will adhere to the agri-food sector’s research priorities, propelling the advancement of knowledge, products, and practices.
  4. Inclusive Eligibility: Universities, colleges, research organizations, industry entities, NGOs, and municipal or Indigenous governments of Ontario are among those eligible to apply.
  5. Prominent Objective: The initiative is critical in advancing technologies and practices vital for enhancing on-farm solutions and bolstering global competitiveness.

In an era where sustainable and innovative practices in the agri-food sector have become paramount, the governments of Canada and Ontario have pledged an investment of up to $16.5 million through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP). This concerted effort aims to fortify Ontario’s agri-food sector, steering it towards novel technologies, practices, and solutions, enhancing its global competitiveness and resiliency.

Nurturing Innovation through the OAFRI

The Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) is instrumental in channeling this investment into multiple years of funding opportunities. With a spectrum of funding streams, including applied research, pilot and demonstration projects, knowledge translation and transfer (KTT), and product commercialization, OAFRI is destined to propel forward the agri-food sector. A note-worthy endeavor under this initiative is the Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub launch, designed to fast-track innovations and startups in the agri-food space.

Aligning with the agri-food sector’s research priorities, these projects are earmarked to deliver groundbreaking knowledge, unveil innovative products, and introduce forward-thinking practices. This alignment ensures a strategic utilization of the funds towards areas that necessitate innovation and development in the sector.

Open for Applications

Ontario houses myriad entities capable of pushing the boundaries in research and development within the agri-food sector. Eligible applicants encompass a wide array, including universities, colleges, research organizations, industry bodies, non-governmental organizations, and municipal or Indigenous governments in Ontario. This inclusivity ensures a comprehensive and varied approach to tackling the challenges and optimizing the opportunities within the sector.

Ensuring Competitiveness and Sustainability

The investment, a part of the 5-year Sustainable CAP initiative, involving a substantial $3.5 billion federal-provincial and territorial governments’ investment, endeavors to elevate the competitiveness, innovation, and resilience of the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector.

“Innovation is vitally important to strengthening the agricultural sector’s competitiveness in a sustainable way,” asserted The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Echoing a similar sentiment, Lisa Thompson, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, emphasized, “Through this investment, we are ensuring our farmers, processors, and entire value chain have access to Ontario-made solutions…”

A Resilient Future for Ontario’s Agri-Food Sector

The research priority areas under the OAFRI include food safety, plant health, animal health and welfare, soil health, and others that are pivotal for the robustness and sustainability of the agri-food sector. Under various streams of the initiative, projects can receive funding up to $200,000 for applied research and pilot & demonstration and up to $150,000 for the commercialization stream.

With a vision to achieve over 250 patents and licenses through OMAFRA-funded research by 2030 and a commitment to persistent investments in science, research, and innovation, the initiative is not merely an investment in projects but a steadfast investment in the future of Ontario’s agri-food sector, assuring it thrives in a sustainable, innovative, and globally competitive manner.

The initiative’s strategic positioning and comprehensive approach assure that Ontario’s agri-food sector is not only future-ready but also a global contender, contributing significantly to the province’s economic vigor while ensuring the sustainability and security of food production and supply in the years to come.

Photo by Jan Weber on Unsplash 

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