B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

B.C.’s 2021 budget is trending in the right direction to support farmers, says the BC Fruit Growers’ Association. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

BC Fruit Growers’ Association gives thumbs up to provincial budget

BCFGA general manager said budgetary investments put farming industry on a good trajectory for recovery

The BC Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA) is glad to see support for local farmers in the 2021 provincial budget.

Although the B.C. government is projecting a $9.7-billion deficit for this year, the provincial Agriculture Ministry will receive a $4.4-million increase to its core budget, which now sits close to $100 million.

BCFGA general manager Glen Lucas said the investment is a step in the right direction.

“It’s something that we’ve been working to, to change the direction. There were years where the agriculture budget went down,” said Lucas.

“Certainly, we’ve seen it stabilize and increase slightly here. That’s welcomed news.”

The lift will help to expand work on the Buy BC, Feed BC and Grow BC programs, with each initiative receiving $3.41 million over the next three years, totalling $10 million.

The Buy BC program promotes and markets a wide variety of local agriculture, food and beverage products, while the Feed BC initiative focuses on increasing the use of locally grown and processed foods in hospitals, schools, and other government facilities. Grow BC is designed to help young farmers access land, while also supporting fruit and nut growers and processors to expand local food production.

Around $35 million of the ag ministry budget will go towards supporting the centralized quarantine program for foreign workers arriving in the summer for the cherry-picking season.

“There’s some expenditure that’s already been made, not through the ministry of agriculture, but through a COVID-19 recovery fund, that has really helped out the free fruit sector and more generally the horticulture sector,” said Lucas.

“We get over 7,000 workers a year. They get quarantined in Richmond. That really helps out our sector and keeps the workers safe.”

After experiencing two years of challenges brought on by intense periods of rain and frost, he said that he expects the cherry sector to bounce back this year.

“There have been impacts there from those two tough years, but I think the cherry sector looks towards these programs and hopefully some of them enhance access to foreign markets and to develop new crop protection techniques and so on,” he said.

He noted the apple sector is also on a downturn, as work is being done with the government to develop a tree-fruit stabilization initiative.

“We are looking for more programs and help for that sector. We hope that there’s room within the agriculture budget to help out,” he said.

An additional $7 million from last year’s budget will go towards supporting the development of food hubs, farm innovation and food processing. $7.5 million is being allocated to agri-tech initiatives by the B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation.

“From an overall perspective, it’s a good trend and trajectory for the agriculture budget,” said Lucas.

READ MORE: B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

READ MORE: B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

“We’re looking forward to that continuing in the future.”

2021 B.C. BudgetBC politicsbudget

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Pictured is Britany Bignham, a Cranbrook hairstylist who is one of 16 top stylists in the running for the Ultimate Stylist competition - an online international hair and beauty competition. She is pictured behind her chair at the Hair Mob. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook hairstylist vies for top prize in international competition

Britany Bingham is one of 16 finalists in the Ultimate Stylist competition

Kimberley RCMP detachment seeking information after female teenager grabbed by masked man.
Teenaged female grabbed by masked man on Kimberley trail

RCMP seeking witnesses or information

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

City staff has passed an order requiring remedial action on a building that was severely damaged by fire last fall. Trevor Crawley photo.
City council orders remedial action on vacant buildings damaged by fire

City council has issued a remedial action order relating to vacant buildings… Continue reading

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read