Canadian Manufacturing

Feds invest $2.5M to grow agri-food e-business during COVID-19

Families will have more choice when buying food and plants online

April 24, 2020  by CM Staff

WOODSTOCK – The governments of Canada and Ontario announced on April 24 they are investing up to $2.5 million to help the agri-food sector expand online, providing more opportunities for producers to grow their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funding is being provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

According to a statement, the Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative will help food producers, farmers markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with access to a wide variety of food and agriculture products.

This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

Bring Your Business Online. Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.
Develop Online Business Opportunities. Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.

“Workers from across our food supply chain are providing essential services to our country and we appreciate their hard work and dedication to keep our agriculture and agri-food system strong during this challenging time,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in a prepared statement. “This investment will provide support as businesses quickly adapt to new and different ways of providing affordable and nutritious food to Canadians.”

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will immediately accept applications and expedite the approval process to help businesses and organizations develop, expand and enhance their online presence.

“We’re helping agri-food businesses adapt to the retail challenges of this unprecedented time,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, in a prepared statement. “COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, and our investment today in e-business will go a long way to connecting the people who grow our food with the people who buy it, while allowing them to practice physical distancing.”