Premier hears farmers’ plights
Sarah Crookall - May 29, 2024 - Biz Releases

Premier David Eby was in Osoyoos Tuesday, attending the Stronger Together: Pro-Agriculture Rally and speaking with South Okanagan farmers.

“There’s a lot of hurt and anxiety here. And it’s important to be here firsthand to hear from the farmers,” Eby said.

The rally kicked off at 2:30 p.m. with a couple hundred of attendees at Gyro Park.

“Especially because the impacts of climate change both from forest fires and also from radical swings in temperature that have really decimated a lot of the tree fruits and the winery operations here,” Eby said. “I was out at a farm earlier today and there are cherry trees with leaves but not a single cherry on them. So many years in a row of lost crops.”

Eby was not the only NDP member at the rally; Boundary-Similkameen MLA Roly Russell also dropped into the event, organized by BC Fruit Growers’ Association.

“Being able to sit down with them and talk over the kitchen table to be able to say okay, you know, how do we help support you,” Russell said.

In addition to the province announcing the $70 million replant fund to replace damaged crops, the NDP caucus says it’s aware that farmers are looking for more such as production policies and changes to insurance policies.

“We’ve received some suggestions from the fruit growers association about initiatives like low interest loans or additional marketing programs for the fruits that are still growing despite the weather impacts to support farmers,” Russell said.

“Also supports for ensuring minimum prices with grocery stores. They’re very helpful suggestions and there’s also our crop insurance program, which we operate with the federal government.”

When asked, Russell said he hopes answers from government will be coming soon.

“It’s a pretty complex challenge that we’re facing in terms of supporting how do we support farmers in all those different domains,” he said. “And so we’re gonna continue to figure out ways to do that.”

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