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B.C. food security strengthened as Province helps food processors expand

April 26, 2023 at 10:24 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

A new food processing growth fund of as much as $20 million will help B.C. food- and beverage-processing businesses increase productivity, economic opportunities and competitiveness, while strengthening food security for British Columbians.

“Helping B.C.’s food and beverage companies increase their production will result in more B.C. ingredients being used, more B.C. products being enjoyed and more economic activity in communities around our province,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “The fund will help businesses increase their capacity and sales, and further support the food security and livelihoods of British Columbians.”

The fund will support upgrades to established businesses, such as new or expanded production and storage facilities, the use of robotics and other technology, new product development and commercialization, specialized training for production staff on new technology and systems, and the hiring of specialized experts, such as food scientists to support new products and processes.

“By investing in B.C.’s food- and beverage-processing businesses, we are not only promoting economic growth and creating new job opportunities, but also ensuring the security and sustainability of our local food system,” said James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food & Beverage. “This fund will help these businesses scale up, innovate and stay competitive, while also increasing the use of locally sourced ingredients and products. It’s a win-win for British Columbians and the province’s largest manufacturing sector.”

Eligible recipients include established B.C.-based food, beverage and seafood processors with $500,000 in annual revenue, as well as commercial food hubs, for-rent commercial kitchens, and industry groups and associations. The fund will be delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF).

“Food processors are a vital part of the agriculture and agrifood sector in BC. It’s great to continue to work with them delivering this very important program,” said James Pratt, vice-chair of IAF’s board of directors. “Accessing the right kind of funding is a major pain point for many processors and is a requirement in order for companies to become national and world-leaders. As a trusted partner, IAF’s professional and dedicated staff are focused on delivering this new funding with our continued excellence.”

The fund aims to increase food production and economic growth by helping established B.C. food-processing businesses expand. This helps to keep these businesses in B.C., ensuring the province’s largest manufacturing sector continues to evolve and grow. The IAF and its partner organizations are also developing a program to support small-scale food processors and abattoirs with annual revenues less than $500,000, and anticipates the program will open this summer.

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s food and beverage processing sector includes 3,200 companies with sales over $12 billion annually and 40,000 employees.
  • BCFB will be using part of the funding to develop a training curriculum to help B.C. processors increase their growth, production and efficiency.
  • The Food Processing Growth Fund is part of the $200 million the B.C. government is using to support food security in B.C.

Learn More

Application packages and criteria are available here: www.iafbc.ca/fpg

Learn more about B.C.’s food and beverage sector here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/agriculture-and-seafood/statistics/industry-and-sector-profiles/sector-snapshots/sector_snapshot_2021_-_food__beverage_manufacturing.pdf

For more details about the Food Processing Growth Fund, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023AF0016-000277

 

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