Funding Up to $3 million to Increase Food Processing Capacity.
“The Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund will make it possible for employers to kickstart business growth — we thank the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for recognizing and supporting the needs of the sector.”
Chris Conway, CEO Food and Beverage Ontario
Ontario’s Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund Program will contribute up to 25% to a maximum of $3 million to enhance agriculture and agri-food processing capacity, and competitiveness principally in rural and northern Ontario. Funding is available for:
- New Production Capacity and Major Expansion of Existing Capacity: funding is up to 20% (25% for rural and northern-based operations) to a maximum of $3 million. Program recommended minimum investment is $5 million. Examples:
- A new operation in rural Ontario spun-off from an established processor that will create new markets for local producers adversely impacted by a recent supply chain closure.
- An established processor purchasing a previously operational facility that requires major renovations and net new processing lines to fundamentally change the type of processing historically undertaken at the defunct facility; and will result in new processing opportunities for regional suppliers in an underserved area
- An established processor that wants to double production capabilities through the adoption of advanced automation or manufacturing technologies and expanding plant working space thereby allowing the processor to satisfy increased client demand.
- Production Modernization: funding is up to 15% (20% for rural and northern-based operations) to a maximum of $500,000. Program recommended minimum investment is $2 million. Examples:
- A new entrant/owner looking to re-open a recently closed plant. The project will leverage existing lines plus improve production efficiency and capacity through the adoption and integration of advanced processing technologies thereby increasing previous plant output.
- An established processor wanting to adopt advanced technologies across all existing lines to improve efficiency and production capacity, allowing for retention of existing markets due to increased consumer demand.
Applicants can request/receive support from each of the above two categories.
Eligible expenses include construction costs, equipment purchases (except ancillary equipment such as pumps, boilers, and conveyors), building retrofits, specialized third-party consulting, project related material expenses, and technology-specific software (ERP systems are ineligible). Only expenses incurred after July 11, 2022 (i.e., submission of a complete application) are eligible. Projects must be completed by January 15, 2024.
Applicants must be an established or new Ontario business transforming agricultural commodities, food and beverages for human consumption. This includes primary food processing activities, e.g., cutting, cleaning, packaging, storing and refrigerating raw plant or animal-based food products.
Ineligible sector processor products and activities include alcoholic beverages, cannabis, pet food, health and nutrition supplements, bio-products, household waste and waste by-products processing, cigarette manufacturing, food services, food retailers, brand owners, and packaging material manufacturers.
To address program objectives, we (INAC) strongly encourage applicants operating in urban centres (i.e., 75%+ of Ontario processors), to stress how their project will support developing processing capacity in rural and/or northern Ontario (e.g., the increase procurement of provincial farmgate receipts) as well as improving domestic supply chain.
Deadline for submitting pre-proposals (forms to be available April 1, 2022) is 17:00 EST April 19, 2020. Complete applications must be submitted by July 11, 2022, however, applicants selected to submit a full proposal based on program acceptance of the pre-proposal will not occur until after the next provincial election, e.g., June 2, 2022
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