Planting the seeds of opportunity
Food As we go about our busy lives, we don’t often think about where our food comes from — just that it’s there when we need it. Although, now more than ever, it’s really important that we do.
Hon. Pat Pimm
A diverse industry
British Columbia is home to about 20,000 farms; some big and many small. B.C.’s farmers, food, and beverage processors generate an astounding array of food products to supply both local and export markets. Today, we have one of the most diverse agrifoods industries in Canada, producing more than 200 agriculture commodities and 100 seafood species.
The B.C. Government recognizes the important role of the farmer in the success of our agricultural industry and to our future food security. That’s why we’re taking steps to protect B.C.’s agricultural land and why we are looking at new ways to help farmers grow their agricultural businesses and, in turn, their family’s income.
Over the coming months, we’re going to be working with B.C.’s independent agricultural tribunal and with our industry toward finding common ground — ways to support farmers and their families, and ways that ensure our fertile land stays protected.
“The agrifoods sector in B.C. has grown by over $1 billion in two years”
If we can increase the amount of agricultural products produced on a farm, we believe that’s worth pursuing. In parts of B.C. the growing season is short and the revenues even smaller, to the point some farmers need to subsidize their farming operations with side jobs or businesses. We believe it’s worth looking at ways to help farmers supplement their incomes, so they keep farming and the next generation continues the farming tradition. After all, behind B.C.’s past, current, and future success, is the success of B.C.’s farmers.
The agrifoods sector in B.C. has grown by over $1 billion in two years, reaching total annual revenue of $11.7 billion in 2012. It’s clear from this growth, that the B.C. Government’s Agrifoods Strategy is working, as we focus on continued growth to reach our target of $14 billion by 2017.
As B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, it is an honour to work closely with our industry and ensure the more than 61,600 British Columbians employed in agriculture, seafood, and food processing have a secure and sustainable future.
British Columbia agrifoods are in demand because they are recognized worldwide as trusted sources of nutrition. Our efforts to expand markets include our Buy Local Program, working with other provinces to break down trade barriers, and programs that help prepare our exporters with the tools they need to sell B.C. products overseas.
B.C. exports $2.5 billion of agrifoods products to more than 130 countries each year. The opportunities for growth are huge: the B.C. Government has led trade missions to China, promoting B.C. agriculture and seafood products. They operate trade offices there, resulting in record agrifood exports to China in each of the last three years.
We look forward to implementing federal-provincial Growing Forward 2 programs to ensure B.C. producers and processors are using the latest knowledge and technology. This way, they can compete internationally and earn new revenue
This is an exciting and rewarding sector to be a part of. When we support agriculture, we enjoy the benefits of local and nutritious foods and also help build strong communities throughout British Columbia.
Hon. Pat Pimm