Hollow Agriculture Report Nothing but ‘Keyword Soup’  


After 11 years of mismanaging agriculture the Liberals need to do more than issue a hollow report. But that is what they've done with a new glossy publication called 'BC Agrifoods: A Strategy for Growth'.
It’s disappointing that after 11 years of inaction, the best the Liberals can do is issue a report taking credit for all the work that food producers and manufacturers have done without support from the Liberal government.
The Official Opposition is calling for simple and concrete steps such as the reinstatement of an organic extension officer and an increase in procurement of locally produced foods in institutions such as hospitals.
The Liberals have reduced the Ministry of Agriculture's budget by almost 40% in the last decade. There are neither the resources nor the capacity for the Ministry to live up to its latest round of promises. 
The strategy document contains lots of commitments like this: "increase organic sector capacity in value chains in order to capitalize on market opportunities.” This is keyword soup - they don’t say how, or when, or what success would look like. That’s not a plan, it's meaningless spin.”
Most of the concrete goals in the report are related to work being done by other jurisdictions or farmers and manufacturers themselves.
One of the only concrete measures in the report has to do with removing inter-provincial trade barriers on wine. This initiative has been championed by New Democrat leader Adrian Dix. While it’s good to see the Liberals finally on board supporting this policy change, it is a little misleading for them to take credit for an initiative that they only offered half-hearted support for at best.
In some cases the commitments outlined in the report are nothing but ineffective attempts to reinvent the wheel.
The BuyBC program was an effective branding program that was widely recognized by B.C. consumers and impacted buying choices.. Adrian Dix and the New Democrats have been calling for the provincial government to put resources in to revive this proven marketing initiative but instead all they are offering the agrifood industry is a twitter account and a facebook page; it's not enough.
I will continue consulting with stakeholders about the report and working with them to fight for real action to improve the business climate for the B.C. agrifood industry.