The financial support package to the Canadian agriculture industry announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning is profoundly underwhelming, according to the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association (BCFGA).
“The announcement today addresses the immediate needs for the beef and livestock producers and processors, but has not addressed the immediate needs of the fruit, vegetable and grain sectors,” said Pinder Dhaliwal, President of the BCFGA.
“We can’t underestimate the urgency of the need for immediate financial assistance to prevent the devastation of our industry sector. Our members are at a point where decisions are being made about whether they can even afford to produce their crops this year.”
The federal government’s $256 million agricultural aid package announced this morning amounts to less than 10 per cent of the $2.6 billion in support the Canadian Federation of Agriculture has indicated is necessary to ensure the survival of the industry in the midst of COVID-19.
The BCFGA appreciates previous actions and financial supports provided by the Canadian and B.C. governments that have allowed a late start to the arrival of temporary foreign workers, but many challenges remain both in terms of increased costs and securing adequate amounts of labour.
“The Canadian government needs to recognize that the reliable supply of food from other countries is at risk, and now more than ever there is a need to support a secure, safe food supply produced in Canada,” said Glen Lucas, General Manager of the BCFGA.
“We will continue to work with Agriculture Minister Bibeau, but our expectation is that she and her government will take a stronger stand to protect our agriculture production capacity in this country.”