Driving Growth for Ontario's Agri-Food Industry
Premier Challenges Sector to Double Its Growth Rate, Create Jobs
Premier Kathleen Wynne recognized excellence in agri-food innovation today and challenged the sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 new jobs in Ontario by 2020.
She issued the challenge as part of a keynote speech at the Premier's Summit on Agri-Food Innovation at Queen's Park, encouraging agri-food industry partners to help Ontario:
- Become one of the top five places in North America in revenues for food and beverage manufacturing; and
- Double its agri-food exports.
The summit also celebrated the contributions of local producers to the overall success of the agri-food sector.
The Premier presented the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence to Monforte Dairy of Stratford, Ontario. Monforte Dairy implemented a Community Shared Agriculture micro-financing model to raise capital to build a new plant.
The Foreign Affair Winery of Vineland, Ontario received the Minister's Award, for re-engineering air flows to their vineyard to apply the Italian "appassimento" method of wine-making to Ontario-grown grapes.
The Premier presented the Leaders in Innovation awards to:
- Geissberger Farmhouse Cider Inc., Hampton, Ontario for their mobile mill that brings the cider-making experience to Ontario orchards.
- Thompson's Maple Products, Hilton Beach, Ontario for developing "Tap Track," a wireless monitoring system that improves quality, efficiency, and reduces costs for maple producers.
- Y U Ranch, Tillsonburg, Ontario for their hybrid gas/electric freezer delivery mini-van known as the "Farmer's Market Express."
Supporting a strong and innovative agri-food industry is part of the government's three-part economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and help businesses grow and create jobs.
- The agri-food sector has grown more than 10 per cent since 2002.
- Ontario’s agri-food sector contributes approximately $34 billion to the province’s economy and supports more than 740,000 jobs across Ontario.
- Food exports hit a record high of $10.8 billion last year.
- A total of 50 regional agri-food innovations will be recognized under the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence program.
“I want to congratulate all of our award recipients today. They have shown us that the agri-food sector has excellent potential for growth. I have extended this challenge today, so we can build on our strengths to create more good jobs for the people of this province.”