Seed funding not planted

The ministry of agriculture and lands hasn't spent the $16.8 million it said would to take action on the government's B.C. Agriculture Plan. Nevertheless, a spokesperson stated it has "delivered or is in progress on the majority of items in that plan." The ministry announced that spending commitment in 2008, promising to reallocate $16.8 million toward:

* developing a promotional campaign to brand British Columbia food and agri-food products;
* making information about new agriculture techniques and technologies available to farmers;
* delivering 4-H programs to youth; and
* teaching agriculture in the classroom.

But so far the government has only reallocated $75,000 toward those services - providing the British Columbia Association of Agricultural Fairs and Exhibitions funding to implement a five-year strategic plan. The ministry has also failed to secure the $3 million needed to develop a food miles program, which was also part of B.C. Agriculture Plan.

The spokesperson blamed those funding failures on the "significant budget challenges" resulting from the global recession.

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