Ottawa, June 16 (IANS) The application process have started for the Canadian government’s C$50 million surplus food rescue program amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported.
When the program was announced last month, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau wasn’t specific about which products were eligible for what was then billed as a “food surplus purchase program”, CBC News said in a report on Monday.
But potatoes, chicken products and mushrooms were mentioned as foods at risk of going to waste while restaurants remain closed and the larger food service industry remains disrupted by the pandemic.
Although the government still isn’t saying exactly which commodities will be “rescued” with the new funding.
The money will be allocated in rough thirds — with one third being used to buy horticulture products (such as grains, fruits and vegetables), another third earmarked for buying surplus meat and poultry products and the final third set aside for purchasing fish and seafood.
The program also has a new goal — of directing 10 per cent of its purchases to Northern communities, where food supplies were insecure.
“With restaurants and hotels closed for weeks, many producers were left with extra food they couldn’t sell,” the CBC News report quoted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as saying during his regular briefing here on Monday.
“Farmers work hard to raise their livestock and grow their crops. They shouldn’t be in a position where they have to see that wasted.
“This is a win-win. Farmers will have people to buy their goods and food will get to the plates of families who wouldn’t have enough otherwise,” he added.
The program, which is a first for Canada, will be accepting applications until July 15.