The provincial government is under pressure to provide sufficient resources for agriculture.
The Regional District of North Okanagan is demanding the Ministry of Agriculture fill the vacant regional manager’s position.
“We’ve lost some capacity within the ministry,” said director Mike Macnabb, adding that the previous manager attended RDNO’s regional agricultural advisory committee meetings.
“He brought information to our committee and it was valuable. We could make decisions without full knowledge.”
Macnabb is also concerned that farmers are experiencing challenges accessing necessary data and assistance because of cutbacks within the ministry.
“Producers says it’s a shadow of itself.”
Macnabb points out that the provincial government is promoting economic growth in B.C. and agriculture is a strong component of the North Okanagan’s economy.
“The government wants to bring in billions of dollars through agriculture but how do you do that if the ministry is not able to provide information?” he said.
The ministry says the recruitment process to replace the recently retired Interior regional manager is underway.
“The ministry anticipates a successful applicant to be hired this spring. In the meantime, local governments and farmers can contact any of the ministry’s offices or staff for assistance,” it states.
“The ministry is also in the process of recruiting a full time agrologist to be based in Vernon.”
AgriService B.C. was recently launched by the ministry. It’s a toll-free phone and e-mail service to connect farmers, and agri-businesses with the people and information they need.