The ag ministry had $2.8 million cut from its operating expenditures
By Diego Flammini
British Columbia’s agriculture ministry will have fewer dollars to spend going forward.
As part of Finance Minister Carole James’s 2020 budget, the Ministry of Agriculture will have its operating expenditures reduced from about $98.2 million in 2019-20 to around $95.4 million in 2020-21.
The cut represents about $2.8 million.
The reduction in spending is mostly centred around travel and office expenses and hiring freezes.
In addition, Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC, which helps expand domestic markets for local products, won’t increase.
The Greenhouse Carbon Tax Relief Grant will continue to be funded through the ag ministry, and carbonated beverages that contain sugar and sweeteners will be subject to a 7 per cent tax beginning in July.
Industry leaders fear that failing to invest in the sector and implementing taxes on ag products will hamper the industry.
“As recent studies have reported, agriculture has significant potential to grow Canada’s economy,” Stan Vander Waal, president of the B.C. Agriculture Council, said in a statement. “We believe this is also possible in B.C., however our province still invests less money into the agriculture sector, relative to its size, than any other province in Canada. We need to invest in this sector if we want to realize the potential it can bring.”
Some parts of the ag ministry will receive more funding than last year’s budget.
The Agricultural Land Commission, which oversees the Agricultural Land Reserve, and the Farm Industry Review Board, which hears appeals and complaints and supervises the province’s commodity boards and commissions, did receive spending boosts.
Farms.com has reached out to Agriculture Minister Lana Popham for comment on her ministry’s 2020 budget.
Anyone interested in B.C.’s budget can read the full document here.