The Ontario and federal governments are investing more than $3.5 million to help more than 700 businesses in the Ontario agri-food sector establish or expand their online presence, a news release from the Ontario government says on Dec. 10. The initiative will provide consumers with more local food choices when shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, the release notes.
“This funding announcement today is helping our farm and food businesses to adapt to the new reality and take their sales online to different e-commerce platforms. Not only will these investments support the trend towards buying local, but it has the potential to support more direct-to-consumer sales for our farmers and food businesses,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release.
Funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), and will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations who are developing or expanding e-commerce ventures this year, the release says.
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative featured two streams of funding. One provided grants of up to $5,000 for eligible applicants to establish an online and marketing presence. A list of approved and contracted projects for these grants is available at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/ebusiness-stream1.htm.
The second stream allows eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations to apply for cost-share funding to implement high-impact e-business projects. Projects funded under this category include $75,000 for Farmers’ Markets Ontario to develop an online platform, protocols for logistics of online orders and distribution, as well as marketing and training activities for Ontario’s farmers markets. A list of approved and contracted projects for this cost-shared funding is available at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/ebusiness-stream2.htm.
This comes following an announcement of more than $2.5 million for online business establishment and expansion in April.