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 agri-food 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.
Agriculture Minister Don McRae said, “2011 was a very successful, profitable year for many B.C. farm families. And with the B.C. Jobs Plan focusing on increased trade and market development, particularly in Asia, we expect that trend to continue in 2012, bringing new
dollars and new jobs to our communities.”
Brendan Harnett, president of Vancouver-based Flying Fresh Air Freight said,
“In China, government opening the door is extremely important. Often, higher-
end customers will refuse to do business without it. Once government has done
that, we can do the rest. We’re really glad the B.C. government was here this
year in such a visible way.”