Agriculture, seafood, and food processing businesses in British Columbia can begin to access consulting and planning services to help with COVID-19 response and recovery, through a program offered by the federal and provincial governments.
The latest intake of the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is open to applications and has been expanded to include aquaculture and seafood companies in developing COVID-19 business recovery plans.
“The Government of Canada is working around the clock, along with the provinces and territories, to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on farmers and food businesses,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This investment will help B.C. farmers and processors who are experiencing income loss steer the course to recovery and continue to put high-quality food on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables for years to come.”
B.C. agriculture, seafood and food processing business owners are encouraged to apply if their revenues have decreased by at least 30% as a result of COVID-19. The funding available includes up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching for individuals, and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan. Eligible applicants may also apply to the specialized business planning stream of the program to further strengthen their business.
“This a difficult time for all Canadians and that includes B.C. farmers, ranchers, seafood and food processors,” said Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture. “I have been working with my federal colleague on ways to help people who are experiencing income loss through the pandemic, and the expansion of the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is a result of this commitment. We will continue to look at ways to help our industry grow the high-quality local food that we depend on.”
Funding for the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The partnership is a five-year federal-provincial-territorial agreement that includes $2 billion in cost-shared strategic initiatives delivered by the provinces and territories, and $1 billion for federal programs and services through March 2023. The new activities related to fish, seafood and aquaculture companies are not eligible for funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Funding for activities related to fish, seafood and aquaculture companies will be provided by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture through the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program.
Information and application details for B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is available here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/agri-business-planning-program
For more information on the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, visit: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-our-department/key-departmental-initiatives/canadian-agricultural-partnership/?id=1461767369849
The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture has provided additional COVID-19 response information for the B.C. agriculture and seafood sector and is available here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/covid-19-response