Greenhouse Canada

COVID-19 Updates News
Ontario’s online agrifood sales receive $3.5M boost


December 19, 2020
By Greenhouse Canada
Source: OMAFRA via Twitter

Ottawa and Queen’s Park are investing over $3.5 million to help more than 700 businesses in the Ontario agri-food sector establish or expand their online presence.

First revealed in April 2020, this announcement increases the allocation from the originally planned $2.5M investment for the Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative.

“COVID-19 has been a major disruptor and has accelerated change to the way we do business in agriculture,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “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.”

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Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations are developing or expanding e-commerce ventures this year. By focusing more resources online, Ontario agri-food businesses are broadening their marketing channels, increasing online sales and providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

“This support is helping many Ontario agri-food businesses better and more quickly adapt to the retail challenges of this unprecedented time and to modernize their operations for the future,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment in e-business will go a long way to safely connect more retailers with more consumers.”

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 allowed 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

Applications to the program are now closed. According to the OMAFRA website, “Applications submitted before the intake pause have either received notification or are being reviewed and applicants will continue to be notified via email as decisions are made.”