B.C. has a competitive advantage over many other jurisdictions because of its worldwide reputation for producing safe, high-quality and high-value food products. Read on for more details
Some facts about B.C. Agriculture:
• Most B.C. farms–98 per cent–are family owned and operated.
• B.C. has the most diverse agrifoods industry in Canada, producing more than 200 agriculture commodities and 100 seafood species.
• Agrifoods currently employ over 61,000 people, and 14 per cent of the provincial manufacturing workforce.
• Approximately 50 per cent of the foods British Columbians eat are grown locally in B.C.
• The Province has more than 1,400 food-processing businesses, producing a variety of foods and beverages ranging from fruit juices and artisan beers to specialty pet foods and wild botanicals.
• B.C. exports over $2.5 billion in agrifoods products to 135 countries worldwide.”
Our province has identified the abundance British Columbia’s agrifood sector has to offer and the enormous potential to continue to grow a diverse agriculture sector with an emphasis on food safety. Farmers, agri-businesses and the public trust the government to do long-term independent scientific studies to determine the safety of food before it is made available to them. Farmers and agri-businesses who rely on propagation of their crops and breeding of their livestock to produce the following years’ income, trust the government will be a resource to them in doing so.
In order for these businesses to have a choice in retaining crop and livestock diversity, they need to have the information about products, seeds and organisms that may affect the outcomes of their choices. Publicly accessible long-term independent scientific studies and information on all available GM products, seeds, organisms and labelling of e products, seeds and organisms currently on the market would put accountability on British Columbia’s businesses and their customers in making these choices. Without the availability of these studies and the subsequent scientific information, accountability for the results of their choices and for the future of their businesses is out of their hands. British Columbia could lead the way for the rest of Canada in developing agrifood strategies sustainable for all methods of farming and production of food.