Canada has seen reductions in food processing capacity as well as the closure of many restaurants and food services because of outbreaks nationwide. Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Foods gave details on the Prime Minister’s funding announcement this morning.
Marie-Claude Bibeau started with AgriStability, which covers revenue losses such as decline of egg prices. She says the program’s application deadline has been extended until July 3rd. In provinces that have enacted this program, Bibeau said producers can now access 75-percent of their expected benefit, up from 50-percent. A calculator is now available online to help estimate the level of support needed.
Bibeau said $125 million will be put into the AgriRecovery fund to cover extraordinary costs faced by producers due to disaster. Once a province or territory activates the program, the eligible costs are then shared 60-percent by the federal government and 40-percent by the provincial government. Up to 70-percent of eligible expenses are normally covered by the program, but was pushed to 90-percent because of the current crisis. Under current conditions, she says the federal government will make available its 60 percent contribution in all provinces or territories regardless of the province’s contribution.
Of the funds from the AgriRecovery program, up to $50 million dollars will fund a program to help cattle producers cover the extra cost of keeping their animals on the farms while they wait longer to be processed. Bibeau says another $50 million will be allocated to help pork producers cover the cost of managing their herd.
Next is AgriInsurance, which Bibeau says covers the risks associated with adverse weather or crop conditions and given the current situation provinces and territories are asked to include labour shortages as eligible under the program.
Bibeau then goes into AgriInvest, which allows producers to build a savings account through yearly contributions that are matched by governments up to $10,000 a year. She says producers are able to draw on these accounts as they need down.
Bibeau then announced $77.5 million dollars in support of food processing in Canada that will be retroactive to March 25th. She also introduced the first-of-its-kind Food Surplus Purchase Program that will be receiving $50 million to help with the purchase and distribution of surplus foods to organizations such as food banks. And to help manage the surplus of dairy products Bibeau says she is proposing to increase the borrowing capacity of the Canadian Dairy Commision by $200 million.