A Vision For Prosperity In Agri-Food
Summit Partners Agree To Strive For Innovative, Sustainable Sector Providing Healthy Food Choices To Ontario And The World
Ontarians are working together to build a sustainable and globally competitive agri-food sector by investing in research, developing new business practices and aggressively promoting healthy food choices here at home, says Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Our agri-food sector is a key contributor to our economy, a huge employer of people and exporter of goods, and an anchor in our smaller communities," said Premier McGuinty. "But we have to look beyond today to ensure that the sector -- and the people in it -- are positioned for long-term success."
Premier McGuinty was speaking at the second annual Agri-Food Summit, which brings together producers, processors, retailers, industry, researchers, environmentalists and sector associations to focus on the future of agriculture and food in Ontario.
The first summit, in December 2004, identified the need for a long-term strategy to help the sector prosper in the face of increasing global competition, restrictions on access and massive price-distorting subsidies in the rest of the world.
Today, Premier McGuinty and summit attendees endorsed a vision of the agri-food sector that is "innovative, sustainable and provides opportunity for profit by all participants ... globally competitive, responsive to consumer needs and contributing to provincial prosperity, the environment and the health of all citizens."
They discussed innovative steps towards achieving this vision, including:
- Improved marketing aimed at broadening Ontarians' awareness of and support for the sector's high-quality, healthy and environmentally safe food products
- New business practices including the creation of more field-to-fork value chains, bringing together producers, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers
- More and better research to take advantage of the long-term consumer trend to healthier, environmentally sound food choices.
"This government is strengthening Ontario's agriculture sector by supporting our producers and encouraging research and innovation," said Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Today's summit is a crucial step towards a better, more prosperous future for Ontario's agriculture sector."
"I'd like to thank the Ontario government for looking ahead by tapping innovation and new technologies to strengthen this province's agriculture sector for the future," said Greg Hannam, past chair of AGCare and a member of the Premier's Summit Advisory Committee.
"With this vision as our guide, we will work together to achieve our goal of long-term success for the sector and the hundreds of thousands of Ontarians working in it," said Premier McGuinty.