Exclusive program launched for B.C. ag sector to buy PPE
BCFB launched a short-term program to help the agri-food industry source PPE that has been difficult to obtain through normal channels.
By Stephanie Gordon
B.C. Food and Beverage (BCFB) launched the Protecting our People program, providing access for the agriculture, food production and seafood sectors in B.C. to purchase PPE (personal protective equipment) at competitive prices.
The program carries inventory of essential PPE items such as KN95 masks, disposable procedural masks and gloves. They are also exploring face shields, reusable masks and hand sanitizers.
PPE is essential for the agri-food sector but has been difficult to obtain in recent weeks, states BCFB, and at times cost prohibitive. In response, BCFB launched the Protecting our People program to coordinate procurement of PPE to supply the industry’s needs.
“BCFB’s goal is to order in large enough quantities to make them more affordable for industry to purchase them,” BCFB’s program description states. “This is intended to be a short-term project to ‘bridge the gap’ until industry is able to secure PPE supplier through their normal channels, who are currently having challenges procuring PPE outside of the healthcare sector.”
“This is intended to be a short-term project to ‘bridge the gap’ until industry is able to secure PPE supplier through their normal channels, who are currently having challenges procuring PPE outside of the healthcare sector.”
BCFB assures industry members the organization will be ordering from reliable, established suppliers with a demonstrated ability to provide quality supplies at competitive prices. However, the exact cost will be determined based on the contract of the suppliers, as pricing has been rapidly fluctuating. The program’s low order minimums will also ensure small businesses will be able to access smaller quantities at competitive prices.
Order fulfilment, shipping, customer service and payment will be managed through Evolution, a Vancouver logistics company who partnered to help BCFB.
The PPE Access Program is being delivered by BCFB and is being funded in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Government of British Columbia through programs delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C.
Funding support is also available for the agriculture sector to purchase PPE. The On-Farm Food Safety Program (OFFS) and Post-Farm Food Safety Program are offering COVID-19 funding for the April 2020 – March 2021 funding year. The new category of funding will provide a one-time payment, of up to $7,500 for On-Farm participants, or up to $15,000 for Post-Farm participants.
The PPE Ordering Form is now set up and ready for pre-orders. Producers can consult the user guide for step-by-step instructions on how to access the program. BCFB states that PPE supplies will be available to be shipped from their B.C. warehouse next week, the last week of May.
The Protecting Our People program will be available until there there is enough available supply of PPE for industry to source on their own.