When it comes to agribusiness in Canada, there is no place like the warm “banana belt” known as Chatham-Kent. Located in southwestern Ontario, Chatham-Kent is one of the largest municipalities in the province and the 12th largest in Canada with over 2,450 square kilometers of the richest farm soil. It is surrounded by fresh water, and is only an hour drive to seven U.S. entry points. All of this means that farmers and businesses, including the food processing industry, have significant advantages over their competition.
Michael Burton, Director of Investment Attraction says “this provides our processors with a distinct competitive advantage in penetrating the US market. Abundant feedstock of fresh vegetables with over 75 varieties of crops makes Chatham-Kent an excellent site for new food companies that wish to establish North American operations.”
Chatham-Kent has assets vital to supporting value-added food processing operations, the greenhouse sector, and other similar agribusiness. In addition, the Chatham-Kent Economic Development team provides direct support for both domestic and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiatives to ensure that all investments yield their maximum potential.
The team at the Chatham-Kent Economic Development are available to help businesses, both local and international, become an integrated member of the community.
In order to simplify the investment process, businesses who are ready to invest in Chatham-Kent can work directly with Economic Development Officers. They serve as Project Managers providing a single point of contact within the Municipality for the duration of the file. This unique approach is available to both new investors and existing companies in the community.
“From an international perspective, Chatham-Kent has high-quality affordable land that is backed by a stable government and features robust infrastructure. Chatham-Kent is uniquely situated as an ideal location for agribusiness to be successful thanks to a combination of right place, right cost, and right connections.” - Kim Cooper, Economic Development Officer and Agriculture Specialist for Chatham-Kent Economic Development
When it comes to the Canadian tomato sector, any tomatoes grown for the processing industry are grown in Chatham-Kent or Essex. There are a number of tomato processors in both regions. Here in Chatham-Kent, we have three processors – ConAgra Foods (Dresden), Harvest-Pac Products (Chatham) and Weil’s Food Processing (Wheatley). There are a number in the Essex region, and all of these processors use tomatoes grown by our tomato growers in both Chatham-Kent and Essex. When you invest in Chatham-Kent, you are becoming a part of a powerful community of manufacturers. 60% of head offices of Canadian food and beverage processors are located in Ontario. Ontario leads the country in agri-food exports. Last year, we shipped over $8 billion in agri-food products around the world.
In order to ensure that businesses can make investments, set up quickly, and avoid any issues, Chatham-Kent has established a 32-acre fully serviced greenfield property that is ready for development. The site, which is zoned for multiple industrial uses, is located directly adjacent to Highway 401 and less than an hour drive to a US border crossing. It is located within the Bloomfield Business Park with surrounding industries including trucking and freight, computer systems design, agribusiness, manufacturing, and warehousing.
By being an Ontario Investment Ready: Certified Site, investors have access to up-front property information, mapping and completed assessments including environmental, heritage, archaeological and species at risk reviews.
Mayor Randy Hope is very involved in supporting the business community. “My main concern is that business is able to operate in the community without any bureaucratic impediments. We have great relationships with both the Provincial and Federal governments and assist local companies in getting funding from these governments for new investments. To get a clearer picture of the advantages in CK investors simply have to contact www.InvestCK.com” says Mayor Hope.
Continual innovation, specialization, and persistence have brought the business of farming light years ahead in the production of top quality, abundant, and safe food products. When you invest in Chatham-Kent, you are joining an agriculture and business community that is connected, vibrant, and growing for the future.