B.C. urged to back agriculture

SILGA pushing for support for B.C. Fruit Growers

  • Jul. 13, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Municipalities from Vancouver and the Okanagan are calling on the provincial government to promote B.C. agriculture.

On June 24, Metro Vancouver directors endorsed a resolution, that calls upon the province to invest in an industry-led marketing program that will increase public awareness for B.C.-grown food. A resolution to request financial support for B.C.’s agriculture sector and promote the sale of locally produced foods has also been approved by members of the Southern Interior Local Government Association.

“Our industry has reached a critical point due to depressed market returns. Growers are adamant that it is a matter of survival of their orchards and the industry,” said Joe Sardinha, B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association president.

“Our province is not competitive with government support for agriculture, resulting in unfair trade impact on pricing. This is why I am particularly pleased to see the resolutions endorsed by both Metro Vancouver and Southern Interior Local Government Association to increase financial support for agriculture in B.C. and support local farm families.”

Sardinha said funding for agriculture programs in B.C. is low in relation to other Canadian provinces, which creates a competitive disadvantage and places financial pressure on growers.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2010, B.C.’s agriculture sector lost $87 million — making it the only Canadian province to have negative income that year.

 

The B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association represents 760 family-operated farms that provide $300 million in economic activity.