B.C. farmers report record-setting sales of $3.9 billion in 2019, paving road to recovery

B.C. farmers report record-setting sales of $3.9 billion in 2019, paving road to recovery

The BC Government is pointing to record-setting sales for provincial farmers in 2019 as a strong indicator that the industry will rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite challenges faced due to the economic fallout from the current health crisis, the Province said that the farm cash receipts from 2019 show sector growth with a record $3.9 billion in sales.

“We know the pandemic has impacted farmers greatly this year, but the farming sector’s record economic growth in 2019 sets the sector up for a strong recovery,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the importance of our province’s self-sufficiency. I urge everyone to continue to show their appreciation for our farmers and support our local food system by making a special effort to Buy BC.”

The Ministry of Agriculture suggests that the 2019 sales numbers have created the foundation needed to help build the road to recovery as BC continues to navigate Phase 3 of its Restart Plan.

The record-setting $3.9 billion in sales represents an increase of more than 13 per cent – equivalent to $492 million – over the 2018 numbers.

The Province highlighted multiple areas of growth within the sector, experienced in 2019.

According to a press release, cannabis sales saw nearly a $300 million increase, dairy sales experienced a $47 million increase, beef sales were up $25 million increase and a $17.5 million increase was seen in field vegetable sales.

Other commodities experiencing 2019 growth were eggs ($14 million), nursery ($14 million) and chicken ($12 million).

The Ministry is suggesting that more farmworkers are needed in order ensure the agricultural sector remains strong during the restart.

“Connecting more British Columbians to agriculture jobs and careers is more important than ever as we work to restart the economy and keep this momentum going,” Popham said. “We are working together with industry as we focus on restarting our farming sector.”

The government is hoping to fill roles and promote summer opportunities in order to keep the industry well-positioned to provide fresh, local food.

One initiative, taken by the Ministry of Agriculture during the pandemic, was launching the BC Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector to help connect farms with a labour workforce in a centralized hub.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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