The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce received unanimous support for their agricultural policy at the BC Chamber annual general meeting in Prince George, where the policy was presented for approval.
The Comox Valley Chamber strongly believes that B.C.’s farmers and ranchers are a vital component of the economy, employing an estimated 300,000 people and generating over $35 billion in annual revenue. The industry is facing many challenges, and to have a strong and positive future, the government needs to partner with this sector in a few key areas.
Prior to taking the policy to the provincial sessions, the Chamber executive and CEO Dianne Hawkins met with Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, recently appointed agricultural minister, to discuss the content of the policy and the Chamber’s commitment to the agricultural industry in the Comox Valley.
The policy was presented by the Chamber in conjunction with the BC Agricultural Council (BCAC).
It recommends that the government live up to its commitment to invest in a marketing program that increases awareness of local B.C. food products. It recommends that funding for extension personnel be given priority, and that the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands works with the BCAC to identify key priority areas for the agriculture sector.
The Chamber also recommends that the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program be funded to a level that will meet the objective of ultimately covering all B.C. schools in the program. This program has been very successful in meeting both health objectives and benefiting the B.C. agricultural sector by providing students with fresh fruits and vegetables.
The approval of this policy by the B.C. Chamber reinforces the strong voice of the Chamber and its members. The new B.C. Chamber policy will be presented to the provincial government.
If recommendations are fully implemented, the economic impact for local farmers and ranchers would be substantial.
— Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce