Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) eceives funding of up to $100,000

farmers This is what happens when a government is driven by urban politics

The Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA) has received funding of up to $100,000 from the Ontario government to study, assess, and expand the network of agri-food producers, processors, distributors, procurers, and consumers in Northern Ontario.

According to Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, “NOFIA is uniquely positioned to examine ways we can establish a stronger agri-food industry in the region.” The investment will provide businesses in Northern Ontario with critical information to help farmers and agri-food businesses expand their market reach and build a stronger supply chain.

As part of this investment, NOFIA will conduct research and case studies, compile market strategies, host business networking sessions and develop workshops to create a directory of food producers across the northern region, a best practice guide for local food procurement practices for remote communities, marketing support to increase the consumption and availability of local food in northern and remote communities, resources that support food literacy in Northern Ontario, and business-to-business meetings and tours that encourage new market opportunities.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, stated, “As Ontario’s population grows, our ability to produce high volumes of quality food must keep up with the pace as we position ourselves to join supply chains nationally and globally. Northern Ontario presents a unique opportunity to meet these demands.” This investment builds on previous actions that support the resilience of Northern Ontario’s food supply chain and helps reach the ambitious goals set out in the Grow Ontario Strategy.

In addition to this investment, the Ontario government is launching the Veterinary Incentive Program and a new Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program, in collaboration with the Universities of Guelph and Lakehead, to address veterinarian shortages in rural and Northern Ontario.

It is important to note that Northern Ontario has approximately 711,000 acres of farmland, with about 696,500 acres in production in the northern districts of Kenora, Rainy River, Thunder Bay, Algoma, Manitoulin Island, Cochrane, Timiskaming, Sudbury, and Nipissing. The agri-food sector in Ontario supported more than 750,000 jobs in Ontario last year and contributed $47.6 billion to the provincial economy. Northern Ontario is home to well-established dairy, beef, grain and oilseed, potato, fruit and vegetable, and rainbow trout industries, and the 2021 census showed that 1,782 farms generated $238 million in gross farm cash receipts.

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