farmers agri-food industry Canada AgriRecovery program justin trudeau

$252M for farmers, agri-food industry in Canada, with AgriRecovery fund

Emergency financial aid is needed to prevent shortages, manage surpluses and implement safety and social distancing measures in processing plants.

In this morning’s daily briefing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a multi-million-dollar aid package for farmers and the agri-food industry in Canada, including the AgriRecovery fund and the Surplus Food Purchase Program.

“These days everyone working in the food industry is working harder than ever to fill the shelves of our grocery stores,” Prime Minister Trudeau said. “They continue to work long hours and the pandemic is making things more complicated for them. Workers must take additional measures to protect themselves, they must change the way they work and respect physical distancing. And since hotels and restaurants are closed, many producers are now dealing with a significant surplus of certain goods. From the outset we said that we would be there for people who need a hand. So today we are announcing a new investment of more than $252-million to help the agri-food industry in Canada get through this crisis.

“Of that amount, we will be allocating more than $77-million to food processors in order to protect the safety of their workers. This is money that they will be able to use to buy more personal protective equipment, adjust their hygiene protocols or other measures such as physical distancing. It will also allow processors to adapt their plants so that they can produce more goods in Canada.

“To help pork and beef producers in Canada, we are putting in place AgriRecovery, and national program with an envelope of $125-million to help farmers adapt to market changes. Farms and pork-producing businesses are producing things like beef and bacon for us and we have to ensure that those animals can remain on the farm longer than usual, and that is costly. The money that we are announcing today will help pork and beef producers to adapt to this crisis. This is an initial investment, and if we have to do more, we will do more.

“We are also launching the Surplus Food Purchase Program, starting with a $50-million fund. The government will buy large quantities of certain products at risk of going to waste, like potatoes or poultry, and redistribute them to organizations addressing food insecurity. This will help ensure that our farmers are being compensated for their hard work, and that our most vulnerable have access to fresh food during this crisis.”

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