September 15, 2023 By Government of British Columbia
The Government of British Columbia has introduced a new fund that will help improve the availability and affordability of food in the province’s remote, rural and Indigenous communities by strengthening the food supply chain and streamlining logistics, storage and transportation options.
“British Columbians rely on strong, local food systems and it is imperative that we look at ways to help strengthen our supply chains with new and innovative ideas,” said Pam Alexis, B.C. minister of agriculture and food, in a press release. “By supporting this sector, we are helping increase food security and affordability, and strengthening local economies throughout B.C.”
The Food Affordability and Innovation Fund is providing as much as $15.5 million for the new B.C. Food Storage, Distribution and Retail Program, helping recipients improve regional distribution networks and shared storage capacity; including:
- reducing costs with improvements to warehouse and storage facilities at key locations along the supply chain;
- introducing shared transportation networks that will pool shipments;
- increasing food supply to rural and remote B.C. communities with new partnerships and collaborating on direct sourcing or bulk purchasing of ingredients;
- reducing food waste, strengthening supply chains and increasing food availability; and
- implementing technologies that will improve the efficiency of the food supply chain, such as modern inventory-management technology.
By improving transportation and food storage, this investment will help increase food security and support B.C.’s rural, independent grocery-store operators who have been dealing with higher costs and slimmer margins to expand their capacity and serve their communities.
The Food Affordability and Innovation Fund is also providing an additional $2 million for the new B.C. Small Food Processor Scale-Up Program. This stream will support B.C. food processors and abattoirs to help them grow their operations and increase productivity, business opportunities and competitiveness.
To help inform the design of the programs, B.C. Food and Beverage was provided with as much as $1 million for conducting focus groups and providing advice on affordability and innovation relating to the supply chain and food systems in B.C.
The funding for both programs will be delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.
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