Canadian growers face an uncertain future

British Columbia food production too dependent on foreign workers

Border disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic have B.C. facing a shortfall of up to 8,000 temporary foreign workers this year, Agriculture Minister Lana Popham says.

The province has launched a new website that Popham says will provide a one-stop shop for agriculture and food production jobs. The site already has 600 positions available as B.C. agriculture moves from the pruning and planting stage toward harvest.

“COVID-19 has brought into focus for many of us our province’s food security,” Popham said May 28. “It has shone a bright light on the need for our province to become more self-sufficient, more sustainable and resilient.”

The jobs go beyond the familiar seasonal fruit picking and other harvesting jobs that urban people hear about.

“We have jobs like cherry production line worker in the Okanagan, a tractor operator in Surrey, a dairy farm worker in Black Creek, a farm manager in Creston, a farm supervisor in Quesnel, a fish processing plant worker in North Vancouver, a greenhouse worker in Delta or a berry picker in the Fraser Valley,” Popham said.

The future for the blueberries of the Fraser Valley isn’t clear either. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicts the level of greenhouse-driven climate warming we will experience in the next five decades will be unprecedented in recorded history.

If this change comes to pass, human populations around the world will be displaced. But on the farm, the displacement is botanical.

Source: nationalobserver.com


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