Growing Forward 2 gives cash and kudos to Ontario food and beverage processors

CAMBRIDGE, ON, June 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's food and beverage processors' major contribution to the economy has resulted in millions of dollars now available to the sector for new initiatives.

Yesterday, the provincial and federal governments announced they are investing a combined $417 million in Ontario's strategic initiatives under Growing Forward 2 for the agriculture and food industry.

This means unprecedented funding is available for food and beverage processors, says Norm Beal, president of the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors.

"The alliance has been working long and hard to make sure governments understand the value of processors to the Ontario economy," he says. "Funding through Growing Forward 2 is a positive signal for our future."

Starting today, funding is available that will aid Ontario processor businesses in identifying strategic priorities for growing profits, expanding markets and managing risks.

In September, a second program will provide the investment needed to take action on those priorities.

"All processors in this province should be considering their options under Growing Forward 2," says alliance executive director Steve Peters. "This is exactly what's needed for food and beverage processors to push ahead on innovative projects, new product development, skills and workforce training and productivity advances."

Alliance member Doug Alexander of Wing's Food Products says the support will help the small-to-medium sized processors such as his that comprise more than 90 per cent of the 3,000 processor businesses in Ontario.

"This is a powerful group of innovators, entrepreneurs and employers who will benefit directly from available programs," he says. "Here is our opportunity to become the leading food cluster in North America."

Members are urged to visit www.omafra.gov.on.ca and follow the links to Growing Forward 2, to start the enrollment process.

The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors speaks on issues and concerns common to Ontario's food and beverage industry. Our focus is on the success, prosperity and growth of the food and beverage processing sector. We work collaboratively with our colleagues and partners across the agriculture and food sector. www.aofp.ca

SOURCE: Alliance of Ontario Food Processors

For further information:

Isabel Dopta, Director, Communications and Industry Relations, Alliance of Ontario Food Processors, 519.993.1192 idopta@aofp.ca

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Alliance of Ontario Food Processors

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