Ontario Agriculture Minister Lisa Thompson has announced up to $2 million over two years for an initiative the province is calling the “Fertilizer Accelerating Solutions & Technology Challenge.”
The province says the funding will support “made-in-Ontario solutions to increase the availability of fertilizer options, alternatives and technology, ensuring farmers have the tools they need so that Ontarians can rely on a safe and stable food supply.”
Full details and project guidelines are available at Ontario.ca and on the Bioenterprise website. Applications for eligible applicants will be accepted beginning on October 5, 2022, until November 2, 2022.
The province says the challenge is the result of consultations with farmers and the agri-food sector, and is designed to help address the ongoing supply chain challenges for fertilizer, while promoting innovation in the province’s agri-food sector. It’s a competitive opportunity for agri-businesses and organizations to focus on new solutions, such as biofertilizers, that can help reduce dependency on imported fertilizer.
“We have heard from farmers that action must be taken to increase the domestic supply of fertilizer options. Our government has listened and is introducing an initiative that will generate made-in Ontario alternatives to help farmers secure the inputs they need to succeed, and to support innovative, technology-based solutions to grow the agri-food sector,” says Thompson. “Ensuring that farmers have the tools and products they need to grow good food is vital to the sustainability of Ontario’s food security and keeping the province as a world leader in food production.”
A portion of the fertilizer used by farmers in Ontario and eastern Canada has historically been imported from Russia and Belarus. These fertilizers are subject to the Canadian government’s 35 per cent tariff that was applied following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Farm groups have been calling on the federal government to provide relief for the added cost to farmers from the tariff.
“The Ontario government’s Challenge is an important step in addressing the fertilizer challenges that grain farmers have been facing this year. The strategic investments to bring new fertilizer alternatives to market quickly will support a safe and stable food supply chain and support the success of Ontario’s grain farmers,” says Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario, in the province’s news release.