As COVID-19 continues to impact all sectors of the local and regional economy, a new funding program has been introduced to meet the challenges of expanding the agri-economy in northern Ontario.
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN), a division of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC), is pleased to announce the new Sustainable New Agri-Food Products & Productivity (SNAPP) Program COVID-19 Recovery Fund. The fund is available immediately for investment into eligible projects. For more information about this program, visit www.rainalgoma.ca/covidresponse.
“COVID-19 has posed a significant challenge for the agri-food sector to adapt in the face of market disruption,” says RAIN Manager David Thompson. “This funding delivered through the SNAPP Program will assist agri-food businesses with adaptation projects and value chain development.”
The project is being led by RAIN in collaboration with the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC) and the Northern Ontario Farm Innovation Alliance (NOFIA). SNAPP is proudly supported by FedNor and the Government of Canada.
“The NOIC is very pleased with this commitment from FedNor to the SNAPP program,” says NOIC Director of Business Development Ryan Lipcsei.
“It is the nature of the food & agriculture industry to be adaptable and innovative. COVID-19 has proven to be a formidable challenge, this program will be a huge boost as we assist farmers and producers alike adapt to this new reality.”The program would assist agri-food business with projects such as:
- Equipment that can automate or reduce labour in agri-food production or processing (handling facilities, harvest/post-harvest processing equipment and food processing equipment)
- Cooler/freezer unit outfitted onto vehicles or trailers to ensure safe delivery of product and increase markets
- Packaging equipment (labelling, bottling, packaging, etc.) to improve safety and increase capacity for regional supply
“NOFIA is pleased to be partnered with RAIN on this initiative,” says NOFIA Executive Director Emily Potter.“This timely funding opportunity will help those in the agri-food and agriculture industry adapt to the current challenges, as well as develop and strengthen new and existing value chains through innovation.”
“The agricultural economy in northern Ontario has an important role to play in our economic recovery,” says SSMIC Executive Director Peter Bruijns. “This sector can create and sustain jobs and resolve our food security issues over time. This funding is valuable in helping sustain the agri-food economy and helping us prepare for the food challenges of the future.”