On July 11, 2019, the Government of British Columbia announced the Food Security Task Force (Task Force) – a commitment identified in the 2019 Speech from the Throne. The Task Force has a mandate to:
- apply agri-technologies (“agritech”) to enhance sector productivity, economic competitiveness and sustainability, reduce waste and tailor productivity to market demands;
- grow the emerging agritech sector in B.C. as a standalone economic sector that can produce technologies that will be in demand globally; and
- 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 stimulate local economic activity.
“Food security” in the context of the Task Force means ensuring B.C.’s agriculture and seafood sectors can retain competitiveness and productivity in the face of challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity (e.g., water), growing market competition from other jurisdictions and a tight labour market. Food security also means that the agricultural and seafood sector can produce enough high-quality food to supply local demand while also growing the sector’s export capacity to help diversify B.C.’s economy and support regional economic development. The Task Force will look at the following food security strategies:
- Applying technology and innovation to the agricultural and seafood sectors in ways that improve efficiency and reduce waste and consider other expensive or damaging environmental inputs.
- Developing the talent needed to advance, drive and implement innovations in the sector.
- Identifying other barriers (e.g., policy, legislative) that may be negatively impacting sector growth as well as considering approaches and best practices in other jurisdictions that have advanced food security.
Through this public engagement, the Task Force will develop a report of recommendations to the B.C. Government for how to unlock the potential of agritech, to fundamentally transform the sector and promote food security.
British Columbians are invited to share their views on the ways in which B.C. can harness new technologies and innovation to produce more food, jobs and prosperity, while reducing waste.
The online public engagement period will run from July 11 to October 15, 2019 at 4p.m. During this time, interested individuals and organizations can share their opinions by completing an online survey. Survey responses will be considered along with feedback the Task Force will receive in meetings with targeted stakeholders in the summer and fall of 2019, with a final report of recommendations is expected to be made public in early 2020.