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Surrey councillor wants rules to spur food production, packaging here

Mike Bose plans to put notice of motion before council May 27
Surrey Councillor Mike Bose on his family’s turkey farm on 156 Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Surrey Councillor Mike Bose plans to put a notice of motion before council at its May 27 meeting for the City to call on the provincial government to work with farmers through the Agricultural Land Commission to make regulatory changes that would encourage them to produce and package food here.

This, he said, would build a stronger, “more resilient” food security supply chain for B.C. by opening up “more opportunities for processing and food production” as well as building a “stronger more resilient food security supply chain for the province.:

The Surrey First councillor and fourth-generation local farmer issued a press release May 13 stating that relying on imported food is no good way to guarantee food security in this province.

“For instance, droughts in California will result in that state pulling back exports so they can feed themselves, and that puts British Columbia at risk,” the former land commissioner warned. “If we learned anything from COVID, it was the importance of being able to grow your own food to feed your community. Right now, we are relying too much on imported produce and products, because we have inflexible rules at the Agricultural Land Commission regarding food production and processing. Even city hall here in Surrey needs to cut red tape that discourages innovation and entrepreneurship in our agricultural sector and its capacity to grow and process our food. Our farmers are smart and innovative, but they are feeling sidelined and stifled.

Bose noted that about one-third of Surrey is farmland.

“If we don’t grow our agricultural sector, we will definitely see higher food prices and food shortages down the road,” he said. “When you don’t have manufacturing and processing alongside our farms it becomes harder to support and grow the industry. We need to make common sense changes to regulations that discourage innovation. We need to give our farmers a fighting chance at success, and that includes adopting regulations that make farming attractive as a career or business.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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