The British Columbia agricultural industry is continuing to see record-breaking numbers in all of its sectors.
In 2016, agrifood and seafood producers exported more products than ever before, setting a new record for the fourth year in a row.
B.C.’s agrifood and seafood sector is one of the most diverse in Canada, producing over 200 agricultural commodities and 100 seafood species.
- The ministry’s annual operating budget has grown by 20% since 2012-13 to almost $80 million, and focuses on B.C. producing high-quality, high-value products, building domestic and international markets and providing a sustainable land base for food production.
- In Balanced Budget 2017, the Province provided $4.5 million in funding to the ALC, a $2.5 million or 128% increase since 2012.
- Strategic growth and development of the agriculture and food sector has exceeded the target numbers for 2014-15.
- The $13 billion sales of B.C. agrifood and seafood products in 2015 is 7.6% higher than 2014.
- Net cash income for primary agricultural production also increased 21.5% in 2015 to $440 million, up from $362 million in 2014.
- In 2015, farmed seafood production increased 31% over 2014 to 96,000 tonnes, while landed values increased by 20% to $497 million. Commercial fishers harvested 159,000 tonnes of wild fish, shellfish and marine plants in 2015, down 5% from 2014, with values of $370 million.
- B.C.’s agrifood and seafood sector had 6,100 more employees in 2016 according to data from Statistics Canada.
- The sector’s growth to 62,900 employees in 2016 follows B.C. agrifood and seafood companies’ record revenue of $13 billion and record exports of $3.5 billion in 2015.
Support for the agricultural sector:
- The Ministry of Agriculture is supporting the development and commercialization of innovative Agriculture Technology (Agritech) in a number of ways:
- The Agritech Innovation Challenge is bringing together innovators with industry to develop a product or process to enhance productivity, sustainability and resiliency of B.C.’s agrifood sector.
- At the #BCTech Summit four British Columbia companies each won $20,000 for developing B.C. tech to help solve a problem identified as part of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Innovation Council’s Innovation Challenge.
- The winning companies are using local tech to deter birds from B.C. berry farms, provide up-to-the-minute health checks on crops, turn B.C. wood waste into fully compostable yarn for farm uses, and improve nutrient recovery from farm waste.
Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR):
- The ALR is a provincial zone where farming is the priority use. Currently, there are approximately 4.7 million hectares of land protected in the ALR.
- There is more land in the ALR today than when it was created in 1974. This area represents a net increase of over 32,000 hectares since 2001.
- The capacity and accountability of the Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) was strengthened through new leadership , separating governance and operations, and improving the governance with a Letter of Expectations, a Ministerial Order, a substantial budget increase to enhance operations (especially compliance and enforcement efforts), and a new fee structure.
- In Balanced Budget 2017, the Province provided $4.5 million in funding to the ALC, a $2.5 million or 128% increase since 2012. This budget increase is intended to support enhanced: ALC compliance and enforcement initiatives; pro-active planning with communities; and regional operations and decision making
- Amendments to the Agricultural Land Commission Act made to confirm the provinces goals of preserving agriculture land and making farming the number one priority, recognizing regional differences (Zone 1 and 2), created regional panels supporting local decision making on applications, added opportunities for enhanced value added farming activities on farmland.
- For more changes to the ALC and ALR 2014 to 2016 visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/factsheet-agricultural-land-reserve
Commodities – B.C. compared to Canada:
- B.C. produced Canada’s largest fruit crop in 2015, up 23% since 2011.
- B.C. produced three quarters of Canada’s farmed salmon in 2015 worth close to $470 million.
- B.C. fishers caught 4,300 tonnes of tuna representing 83% of national harvest.
- B.C. is home to the second largest grape producing region in the country with over 10,000 acres in production, one third of Canada’s total grape land.
- B.C. tree fruit growers produced Canada’s largest tree fruit crop in 2015, up 6% since 2011.
- B.C. alone produced close to one-third of the nation’s tree fruit crop in 2015 with crops grown on nearly 15,000 acres – one quarter of Canada’s tree fruit area.
- B.C. farms produced the nation’s second largest production of greenhouse vegetables;
- B.C. farms produced Canada’s second highest farm revenues in floriculture, valued at over $298 million in 2015, up 24% since 2011.
- B.C. farms produced Canada’s second highest nursery farm revenues, valued at $193 million in 2015, up 10% since 2011.
- B.C. farms generated Canada’s third highest vegetable farm receipts, valued at more than half a billion dollars ($523 million) in 2015, up 16% since 2011.
- B.C. farms accounted for Canada’s third highest supply-managed receipts (dairy, chicken, turkeys, table eggs, and broiler hatching eggs), valued at nearly $1.1 billion in 2015, up 7% since 2011.