Guelph will showcase agri-food innovation strengths on Brazil trade mission

Guelph will be in Brazil this week attending the SIAL Brazil and Fispal Food Service trade events from June 25 to 28. Officials from the City of Guelph and University of Guelph will be meeting with business executives and decision makers on all areas of the agriculture and food and beverage industries that are looking to invest in Ontario.

Guelph is participating in this mission as part of the Ontario Food Cluster (OFC); a group of Southern Ontario economic development agencies, as well as the provincial and federal government. A founding member of the OFC, Guelph benefits from the organization’s ability to leverage the combined agri-food strengths and assets of the region, making this sector the country’s largest economic and employment sector and the second largest in North America.

“We have developed this year’s OFC program to reach out and attract agri-food firms from abroad and highlight Southern Ontario’s collective strengths in the industry. This includes the over 150 agri-food and life science companies and research and academic institutes that call Guelph home,” says Barbara Maly, Business Development Specialist for Guelph Economic Development and this year’s chair of the OFC.

The OFC will also be proudly promoting Conestoga College’s new Institute of Food Processing Technology. Located at the Cambridge campus, the institute provides the industry with a new generation of skilled front-line food processing workers educated on the latest in touch screen computer, robotics, and other state-of-the-art industry technologies.

“Local businesses are increasingly seeking out global markets and cities are competing globally for investment and jobs. Guelph needs to be at the table,” says Mayor Karen Farbridge. “Guelph is already recognized as the province’s centre for agri-food innovation. We have lots to offer new investment prospects, including a talented labour pool coming from University of Guelph and Conestoga College and an abundant supply of shovel-ready lands in the Hanlon Creek Business Park and elsewhere.”

This event is part of Economic Development’s marketing efforts to target the agri-food and innovation sector as directed by Economic Development’s guiding document Prosperity 2020.

About the Ontario Food Cluster:
Made possible through the funding of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada , the OFC builds international trade and investment opportunities for its expanding 3,200-company agri-food sector. These companies have manufacturing revenue of $34 billion, including $9.9 billion of exports, and employ 130,000 people directly in agri-food processing/manufacturing and wholesaling and another nearly 483,000 workers in related sectors. Combined, Ontario’s agri-food innovators and employees have built the province’s stellar reputation for reliable, sustainable sources of agricultural raw materials, state-of-the-art automated food processing methods, and world-class food safety standards. OFC’s Southern Ontario cities and regions include Chatham-Kent, City of Brantford, City of Hamilton, City of London, County of Middlesex, Greater Toronto Area, City of Guelph, Niagara Region, Sarnia-Lambton, Southwest Economic Alliance, Southwestern Ontario Marketing Alliance, Waterloo Region and Windsor-Essex. The Cluster also partners with the Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

About the Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT):
Opened in 2011, IFPT is a training facility housed at Conestoga College’s Cambridge campus. The institute develops training opportunities in food safety, food processing techniques, electronic instrumentation techniques, automation, robotics, packaging and plant supervision. The IFPT’s mission is to develop a highly skilled workforce by providing education and training programs that meet the needs of the food and beverage manufacturing sector. The graduates of the institute are expected to fill the need for highly skilled workers available to control and maintain the latest in food processing technology and keep the industry as a major economic force in Ontario and Canada.

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