It’s Agriculture Week in Ontario; 790,000 work in sector

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The province is marking Ontario Agriculture Week – October 3 – 9  by celebrating the 52,000 hard-working farmers and their families who provide Ontarians with fresh, locally-grown, high-quality food and beverages.

Ontario’s farmers are key to the success of the province’s agri-food sector, which generates almost $36 billion in Gross Domestic Product and employs almost 790,000 Ontarians, producing more than 200 different commodities. Almost 65 per cent of their harvest is purchased by Ontario food processors and made into high-quality locally-grown products for consumers to enjoy.

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,  said: “Without the dedication of hard-working Ontario farmers, our agri-food sector would not be as successful as it is today. Our government is proud to support the entire agri-food value chain and the important work our farmers and processors do to bring more local food to the plates of Ontario consumers. I encourage all Ontarians to take this opportunity to celebrate and thank our farmers for the work they do, not only during Agriculture Week, but throughout the year.”

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Productivity and innovation

To help support farmers and the work they do, the government has:

  • Invested in projects to help increase productivity, innovation, market development and competitiveness for Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food businesses through Growing Forward 2
  • Worked with industry partners to help promote local food and beverages to meet the diversity of Ontario’s consumer marketplace
  • Supported environmental stewardship initiatives by supporting on-farm improvements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Invested in jobs and growth in the agri-food sector through programs such as the Jobs and Prosperity Fund’s Food and Beverage Growth Fund
  • Created new economic opportunities for Ontario’s agri-food industry through targeted investments across the agri-food value chain and minister-led trade missions
  • Supported supply management and regulated marketing to help maintain a stable, quality supply of products for Ontario’s food processors and consumers
  • Invested in the Greenbelt Fund to support initiatives that help enhance consumer awareness and access to local food, and generate demand and supply of Ontario foods and beverages
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Stakeholders challenged

In 2013, Premier Kathleen Wynne saw growth potential in the agri-food sector and challenged stakeholders to double the industry’s annual growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by 2020. Since then, Ontario’s agri-food sector has added $2.2 billion in GDP and created more than 42,000 jobs.

Supporting Ontario’s farmers and increasing access to local food is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs, a government statement said.

  • Ontario Agriculture Week runs from October 3-9 this year.
  • Ontario has invested $6 million over three years in the Greenbelt Fund to boost awareness and access to local food.
  • To date, Ontario has invested approximately $1.5 billion to support food and beverage growers and producers across the province.
  • Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $180 million to support sales of Ontario foods. This includes investments through Foodland Ontario and the Greenbelt Fund’s Local Food Investment Fund.
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