Task force to boost B.C. agriculture through tech, innovation

Photo courtesy of Government of B.C Flickr

The Province of B.C. has created the Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy by helping farmers farm and processors become more productive, now and in the future.

“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”

The three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to:

  • apply agri-technologies to help farmers and producers enhance productivity, increase economic competitiveness and sustainability, reduce waste and help make sure B.C. farmers are growing the food needed to meet demand;
  • expand the emerging agritech industry in B.C. as a standalone economic sector to produce technologies that will be in demand globally;
  • support the objectives of CleanBC, both through the adoption of technologies and practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • increase access to fresh, healthy food and support local economies in communities throughout B.C. 

“This task force will evaluate ways of innovating in this important sector with the goal of improving access to quality, healthy food for everyone,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “It will also make recommendations to support our agritech companies as they scale up and anchor their operations here at home, creating clean jobs for British Columbians and contributing to a sustainable economy for the future.”

Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC, will participate on an invited basis as an ex-officio member of the Food Security Task Force.

“B.C. has an opportunity to be the best in the world when it comes to innovation in our agricultural sector,” said Peter Dhillon. “At a time when climate change and technology are rapidly changing how we grow food, it is more important than ever that we make sure B.C.’s agritech sector has the support it needs to thrive. On behalf of the task force, we look forward to preparing a report for the government on how B.C. can help make that happen.”

The task force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by Dec. 31, 2019.

The public is invited to provide comments online: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/foodsecuritytaskforce/ 

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