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Ontario and feds partner on food and beverage fund

The food and beverage processing industry in Ontario is getting a $3 million fund to encourage innovation.

The Food and Beverage Industry Innovation (FBII) Fund is made up of equal contributions by the federal and provincial governments.

“Innovation has always driven this sector and our government wants to ensure that proud tradition continues,” said local MP Gary Goodyear.

Goodyear said supporting producers will help the Ontario food and beverage processing industry, the second largest manufacturing sector in the province, achieve successful results.

The federal contribution of $1.5 million is being provided through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food program which, in Ontario, is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC). The provincial contribution of $1.5 million was provided to increase food industry competitiveness and was announced on January 31, 2008.

The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP) and the AAC joined efforts to establish the FBII Fund to encourage investment into new, innovative processes, products or skills development in the food and beverage processing industry. Projects are expected to improve the long-term sustainability of individual businesses as well as sectors within the industry.

“Long term sustainability and competitiveness are critical to the future success of Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry,” said Jane Graham, executive director of the food processors alliance.

Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry is the second largest manufacturing sector in the province, generating more than $33 billion annually in sales and employing more than 110,000 people. The industry is the largest customer of Ontario’s farmers and purchases more than 70 per cent of all farm production.

The deadline for submission of proposals is September 22, 2008.

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