The Ontario government announced it’s investing up to $2 million over two years in the Fertilizer Accelerating Solutions & Technology Challenge.
This funding will support made-in-Ontario solutions to increase the availability of fertilizer options, alternatives and technology to farmers in the province. The goal of the challenge is to “incent agri-businesses and industry to research, develop and even advance ideas that have been percolating with regards to fertilizer solutions and technologies that we need to keep Ontario farmers competitive,” Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said at the funding announcement, held at Cantelon Farms Ltd. in Seaforth.
Thompson said the challenge is a result of consultations with farmers and the agri-food sector on how to address the ongoing supply chain challenges for fertilizer, while promoting innovation in the province’s agri-food sector.
The Challenge is a competitive opportunity for agri-businesses and organizations that will focus on investing in projects, such as new solutions like biofertilizers, that can help reduce dependency on imported products.
Accelerating the development of these projects from concept to commercialization is also key. That’s why the Challenge is being delivered by Bioenterprise Canada, a national non-profit business accelerator with experience in bringing products from concept to market in the agri-food space. “I feel that they’re going to be a valued partner in the rollout of this program,” said Thompson.
Crosby Devitt, executive director of the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO) said at the announcement that Ontario farmers are facing uncertain times right now, with disrupted supply chains “massively upended by geopolitics. We’ve got volatility in our markets and unclear direction.” He said that by working together, government and farmers can find solutions to help these challenges and that the Fertilizer Accelerating Solutions & Technology Challenge is one part of the puzzle.
Devitt said the GFO is looking forward to seeing what news ideas come out of the challenge, and more importantly, that they can be put into action in a short timeframe.
“We’re not going to solve every global fertilizer issue right away, we want to be able to be competitive down the road and find ways to be able to use every ounce or every pound of that fertilizer in the best way.”
Details on the Challenge 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.