Province supporting, working with primary industries
The Province of Prince Edward Island continues to work closely with primary industries to get ready for the spring season and address impacts of COVID-19.
“Prince Edward Island was built by our Island’s hard-working farming and fishing families and communities. It is important for not only our economy and food supply, but also our culture and tradition that they remain productive during the pandemic,” said Premier Dennis King. “As our province deals with the consequences of COVID-19, government is committed to working with partners to ensure our primary industries can remain strong and resilient.”
In order to support the potato industry of Prince Edward Island, the Province of Prince Edward Island is working with producers and processors to provide $4.7 million towards shipping and storage costs of potatoes for processing. This investment will help mitigate a potato surplus resulting from market conditions related to COVID-19.
Additionally, through the Department of Agriculture and Land’s Business Risk Management (BRM) Programs, the province will help farmers manage risks that threaten the viability of their farm operations. Minister of Agriculture and Land Bloyce Thompson announced up to $8.8 million in support for farmers through the BRM programs for the next two years.
The AgriStability Program package includes paying the provincial portion of the costs to increase the coverage level for producers enrolled in the program from 70 per cent to 85 per cent, and removing the reference margin limit which will have a positive impact on the livestock industry. In addition, the province is offering interim payments of up to 75 per cent to get funding into producer’s hands in a timely manner. When combined, this will provide an estimated $5.6 million in support for farmers over two years.
The AgriInsurance Program will offer a 10 per cent discount on the producer’s share of insurance premiums, saving farmers an estimated $3.2 million over two years.
These programs are made available through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a $3 billion, five-year investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector.
“The current global situation is creating uncertainty for our farm community and immediate support is necessary for the sustainability of our agriculture industry and the long-term strength of our food supply system,” said Minster Thompson. “By supporting the industry, and our farm families and workers, our province can retain economic strength and prepare for a return to full economic activity.”
Minister Thompson also encouraged farmers, farm families and farm workers who need them to access the mental health supports available through www.FarmersTalk.ca.
Minister of Fisheries and Communities Jamie Fox thanked the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Prince Edward Island Fisherman’s Association, and Chief Public Health Office for their partnership to open the spring lobster fishery on May 15.
“While not the opening date that ever fisher wanted, it is encouraging to see that we will have a spring lobster season as many Islanders rely on jobs on the boats and in the processing plants,” said Minister Fox.
“The industry has shown great leadership in this difficult and unprecedented time and are taking health and safety precautions seriously, working with the province and Chief Public Health Office to put guidelines in place to protect themselves, their coworkers and the community from this illness. Islanders look forward to their first feed of lobster as we ease back into a new normal for our province.”
Additionally, Minister Fox thanked municipal governments for the precautions they have put in place to protect their communities and reminded them that the province’s Rural Growth Initiative is available to help small communities and rural organizations. He also reminded employers of opportunities to apply for wage supports through various programs being offered through the Employment Development Agency and Skills PEI.
Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Office of the Premier