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Farmers are encouraged via a tax credit to donate to programs like food banks. (The Canadian Press)

Ontario has announced a new tax credit for farmers who donate their products to community food programs, including food banks and student nutrition programs.

The food donation tax credit for farmers will be valued at 25 per cent of the fair market value of the products they donate.

The Liberal government says the tax credit is the only one of its kind in Canada and will help farmers donate more fresh food to their local food banks.

It says the program is part of the government's strategy aimed at building a stronger agri-food industry.

Farmers can claim the new tax credit for donations dating back to Jan. 1 this year.

The government says Ontario's agri-food sector contributes $34 billion to the province's economy and supports more than 740,000 jobs.