B.C. offers more funds for food e-commerce

The vital part of the Buy B.C. campaign in British Columbia is the ability of sellers to reach consumers and e-commerce is one way to do that.

The provincial government on June 5 put more money into a program to help farmers and food companies establish e-commerce and facilitate sales of B.C. products.

Demand upon a $250,000 initial program was fully subscribed in less than a week, according to the B.C. agriculture department, so another $300,000 has been provided for a total of $550,000 under the province’s Buy BC Partnership Program.

“The response the program received in the first round of funding from farmers, fishers and food and beverage processors was exceptional,” said B.C. agriculture minister Lana Popham in a news release.

“The demand was so great that it was clear we needed to help more businesses move online so they can sell their products direct to consumers across the province.”

The funds can be used to help access and develop websites to help online food sales and cover costs of marketing and shipping products within B.C. The program provides up to $5,000 per applicant.

The additional money will fund applications that came in after the first program was fully subscribed on May 15, said the release. No new applications are being accepted.

To be eligible, applicants had to have a valid B.C. business licence number, at least two years of business revenue, grow or process at least one agricultural or food product in B.C., use raw materials from B.C. for processing products and not be contracted to receive Buy B.C. cost-shared funding in this fiscal year.

E-commerce of agricultural products is seeing increased interest across Canada due to various restrictions connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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