Ontario gives London-area manufacturers, agri-food firms $6M boost

·2 min read

The provincial government is pumping more than $6 million into five London-area businesses to bolster domestic manufacturing and agri-food production.

Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli was in London Wednesday to announce the investments, which he says will create 134 jobs and maintain 133 more.

He said the province is doling out more than $4.5 million to Shogun Maitake Canada to support its expansion in Southwestern Ontario.

"To meet demand for this game-changing product, Shogun Maitake is building a state-of-the-art facility with new processing equipment," Fedeli said outside the company's food manufacturing facility Wednesday. "The increased capacity will allow this company to accelerate production and innovation, and secure (its) competitive advantage."

The company is spending more than $31.2 million to build a 135,000-square-foot (12,500 square metre) Thames Centre plant to process maitake mushrooms for the agri-pharm and bio-pharmaceutical industries, creating 60 jobs and retaining two others.

The mushroom can help boost people's immune systems and lower cholesterol and blood pressure, according to Yoshinobu Odaira, president and chief executive of Shogun Maitake Canada. It's in clinical trials as a potential breast and pancreatic cancer treatment.

"It's a tasty mushroom that hasn't been sold in this area," Odaira said through a translator. Southwestern Ontario "is a place people can come buy our product."

At its London facility, the company produces about 1,000 bags of mushrooms a day, each of which takes 110 to 120 days to grow. The product is shipped to restaurants in Ontario, Quebec and parts of the U.S., including Chicago and Boston, and grocers, such as No Frills and Sobeys, the company said.

The province is backing a total of nearly $42.3 in investments by London-area manufacturers.

The agri-food business industry is "really key," Fedeli said. "We're feeding the world out of Ontario . . . (Agriculture) is so incredibly important, and what we're really seeing a growth in is the advanced manufacturing sector that is moving agri along."

cleon@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/CalviatLFPress

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Shogun Maitake Canada: $4.5 million

Attica Manufacturing: $531,000

Algonquin Bridge: $525,000

Arva Industries: $312,000

Planet Shrimp, RAS Technologies: $163,000

Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press

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