British Columbia’s food producers and processors are getting help from the governments of Canada and B.C. to help find new customers in other parts of Canada and around the globe.
The $5-million BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program will help farmers, and agri-food and seafood processors, co-operatives and associations identify, assess, target and develop market opportunities to increase their sales outside of B.C. The five-year program will support the development of marketing skills and plans, the creation of market research and export-focused promotional materials, and participation in export-focused market development activities, including reaching new customers through international trade shows.
“Canada’s farmers and processors have incredible potential to create good jobs and grow Canada’s economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “The BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program will help deliver more of their world-class products to consumers in Canada and abroad, and contribute to our government’s goal of reaching $75 billion in exports by 2025.”
The program is designed to support B.C. businesses at each stage of export development, from helping companies begin the process by gaining the knowledge, skills and plans to prepare for their domestic and international target markets, to helping experienced exporters reach new markets and expand their sales outside of B.C.
“By supporting B.C. farmers and producers who are interested in expanding into other Canadian or global markets through the BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program, we’re increasing demand for the amazing products we harvest, raise and produce in B.C., creating good jobs and prosperity for British Columbians,” said Lana Popham, B.C.'s Minister of Agriculture.
B.C. exported more than $3.9 billion worth of agri-food and seafood products to 157 markets in 2017, the highest ever, $94 million more than the year before. Supporting the development of export markets creates jobs in B.C. communities and supports new and expanding producers by increasing the use and demand of locally grown agriculture products.
The program is open for applications and will run for the duration of the five-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a federal-provincial-territorial $3-billion investment that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services, through March 2023.
Stan Vander Waal, president, BC Agriculture Council, commented: “BC Agriculture Council is extremely pleased that government is making strong efforts to assist B.C. farmers and ranchers be more competitive on the world stage. The export program will provide new tools and opportunities to many local farming operations who are looking to bring their product to other markets.”
James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association, added: “Developing export opportunities for B.C. food and beverage manufacturers is critical to long-term business growth. The BC Agrifood and Seafood Export Program is a great resource that will make it easier for these businesses to identify potential customers in international markets.”
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