Victoria, B.C. – The B.C. government has put a new strategy into place to increase local food production and processing.
The plan, called B.C. Agrifoods: A Strategy for Growth, also aims to create more jobs.
The province says the strategy is a five-year plan that will tackle three priorities:
• Promoting B.C.’s products;
• Expanding both domestic and international markets; and
• Enhancing industry competitiveness.
The province says focusing on the agrifoods sector in this way can increase industry revenues from the current $10.5 billion a year to $14 billion annually by 2017.
Highlights of “B.C. Agrifoods: A Strategy for Growth” include:
• Promoting local foods and strengthening the domestic market through the interactive online initiative, Foods BC.
• Working with industry stakeholders to develop domestic marketing programs.
• Achieving full traceability for B.C. livestock and seafood, to enhance British Columbia’s global reputation for safe, secure food production.
• Implementing a premise identification system to support traceability for livestock and poultry.
• Expanding international markets for beef, berries, seafood and wine.
• Reviewing regulatory and taxation levels.
The province says over the next five years, the agrifoods strategy will also support industry innovation, address the sector’s labour market needs and ensure a sustainable land base for production.
B.C. can also use its reputation for producing safe, high-quality and high-value food products to its benefit. The province is also Canada’s gateway to the Pacific, and can access existing markets in the U.S. and Europe, as well as developing markets in Asia.