A baby formula plant proposed for eastern Ontario has got a major boost from the Ontario government.
The $225 million plant is being built at Kingston by Canada Royal Milk ULC, a subsidiary of Chinese company Feihe International. The Ontario government has committed up to $24 million to the project, which will export baby formula to China.
The plant is slated to open in 2020 and will need what the province calls “significant” volumes of cows’ and goats’ milk.
The funds will come from the food and beverage investment arm of the province’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Feihe International on Saturday during her trade trip to Beijing.
“We’re excited to welcome Feihe International to Ontario. In addition to bringing good jobs to the Kingston community, this project will also open up new opportunities for our dairy and goat producers to continue to grow and thrive,” said Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.
Youbin Leng, chairman of Feihe International, said Ontario is at a similar latitude to its Chinese operations, an area he calls the “World’s Golden Milk Belt” at 47 degrees north.
The company is the largest of China’s infant formula processors.
There was some concern at last week’s Ontario Federation of Agriculture annual meeting where a resolution was presented that called on the province to create an office in eastern Ontario to work with farmers to create a supply chain.
The resolution from Frontenac County said Ontario farmers need to be able to compete with the provincial goat association in Quebec, which the resolution said has already been working with Quebec’s agriculture ministry and Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) to create a goat milk supply chain to supply the Kingston plant.
Ontario goat farmers have twice rejected the creation of a levy-funded provincial goat milk producer organization.
— Reporting for AGCanada.com by John Greig.