2012 to welcome new markets, more support
VICTORIA - British Columbia's food producers are looking forward to a new year filled with opportunities as a result of the Province's 2011 record-setting food exports to China, strengthening of the Agricultural Land Commission and the government's role in investing more than $44 million to support B.C. farmers.
These are just a few examples of significant progress made by government in the last year to improve the lives of British Columbians and their families by creating and protecting jobs, by becoming more open and transparent, and by continuing to be fiscally responsible in these uncertain economic times.
B.C. broke its own record this year, with agriculture, fish and seafood exports to China from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31, 2011 totalling $124 million, eclipsing the record-setting 2010 year-end total of $118 million with two months of trade statistics still to be counted. As part of Premier Christy Clark's Asian trade mission in November, two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed between the sister-provinces of British Columbia and Guangdong to increase trade in seafood and agrifood products.
The Province continued to support farming families in 2011 by partnering with the Government of Canada to target more than $6 million since April 2011 to support business development, innovation, food safety and sustainability. The Province also invested about $38 million in payments to farmers and ranchers in various risk-management programs this year.Quick Facts:
Exports to China:
- Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2011, B.C. exports to China included $92 million in seafood, $14 million of pork, $4.4 million in food preparations (syrups, pastes and powders used in food and beverages) and $3.3 million in wine.
Legislation and Support:
- In November, the Province passed legislation for an additional $1.6 million to allow the Agricultural Land Commission to focus resources on preserving farmland and encouraging farming, increase enforcement and begin the transition to a more self-sustaining operating model by 2013.
- In April, Premier Clark announced a $100,000 investment in new funding for animal cruelty investigations and introduced the toughest animal cruelty laws in Canada.
- Changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act became law in June, including penalties of up to $75,000 and 24 months imprisonment for the most serious offences.
- In July, Agriculture Minister Don McRae announced up to $5 million in provincial-federal funding to help vegetable, cattle and bison producers recover from the damage caused by extreme weather in 2010 and into the spring of 2011.
- A breakdown of why is the ALC is now stronger: http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2009-2013/2011AGRI0040-001468.pdf
- Summaries of the innovation, food safety, environmental farming and business planning programs offered through Growing Forward: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/apf/GF_Programs.html
- The various risk-management programs available to B.C. farmers and ranchers: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/rm/index.htm
- A summary of the progress of the Sled Dog Task Force: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/taskforce.html
Ministry of Agriculture