Feds Roll Out Help For Farmers

Henrietta Strickland
May 6, 2020

"We know there is more to do", Trudeau said, adding that this is an initial investment, and more will need to be done as the needs increase.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture has been warning that a financial boost is urgently needed to protect against food shortages in Canada and called for a $2.6 billion emergency fund last Thursday. "For many farmers, this crisis means that they have to keep animals for longer periods of time, and that can be expensive", Trudeau said.

The remaining $50 million of the new funds will help launch a surplus-food purchase program in which the government buys large quantities of food from farmers who would have otherwise had to dispose of excess production amid mass restaurant and hotel closures.

In addition, the Prime Minister also said that an additional $ 175 million will be provided to the Canadian company AbCellera for a promising COVID-19 investigation.

The second part deals with managing livestock with money for beef and pork producers holding animals they can't sell.

He also announced that the government intends to propose an additional $200 million in borrowing capacity for the sector.

"This is money that they can use to purchase personal protective equipment for workers, adapt health to protocols and support other social-distancing measures", Trudeau said at a news conference Tuesday.

The Montreal metropolis has more than half of the province's COVID-19 cases, and with no sign of the epidemic curve flattening, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced Monday that the opening of retail stories in the province's most populous region, scheduled for next Monday, would be delayed by a week.

"It's a waste of food and loss of revenue to the people who've worked so hard to produce it", Trudeau said. "You help make that possible so we're here for all of you in the agri-food industry and we will continue to be here for you".

Last week, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture appealed to the Trudeau government to provide the agri-food sector an emergency fund of 2.6 billion Canadian dollars (about United States $1.9 billion) to maintain food security in the country.

Just less than one-third of the support funding, $77.5 million, will be given to food processors. AgriRecovery is a shared federal-provincial program created to provide financial relief to agriculture businesses during emergencies. The enrolment deadline for the program has also been extended to July 3.

Provinces have to trigger the program and share costs with the Government of Canada in a 60:40 federal-provincial split.

Governments are working to boost interim payments through AgriStability from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Bibeau pointed out that Tuesday's announcement builds on previous commitments to increase access to funding for farms and to support temporary foreign workers, food banks and nutrition programs in the North.

Altogether, Bibeau said the measures are important for Canada's food security.

An additional $5 billion lending capacity for Farm Credit Canada, which has already resulted in loan deferrals valued at over $3 billion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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