The Provincial Government has announced funding for a new regional food hub for Quesnel.
Agriculture Minister Lana Popham delivered the good news from the atrium of the College of New Caledonia this morning…
“A food hub is a centralized shared-use food and beverage processing facility that provides food entrepreneurs with affordable access to production facilities, specialized processing equipment, new technology, research and development and business expertise to help them along the way. The Cariboo regional food hub will help new processors get started and existing food processors to expand their product lines and develop new markets.”
Popham says the hub will also bring more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to increase revenue by adding value to their products.
Over the next two years she says it will be tied into a provincial network that they are establishing right now…
“The network will grow to include different regions of the province, and the hubs will connect local food producers, farmers, ranchers, food and beverage processors, with cutting edge technology, production facilities with specialized equipment, and business support. This will allow for unlimited creativity and entrepreneurship while supporting processing, packaging and marketing of BC products that will be available in our province, across the country and internationally.”
Popham says the food hub in Quesnel will create good jobs and increase diversity and resiliency in the local economy.
Quesnel is the first food hub in rural BC and the second in the province.
The other one, announced in the spring, is in Vancouver.
According to government stats, approximately 16-hundred farms operate in the North Cariboo.
Twenty-three percent of those sell direct to consumers, but only nine percent do value-added products…
“So there is so much potential to increase that number. The current value of value-added food sector in this region is about 30 million dollars and with the Cariboo regional food hub in place those numbers are going to move.”
As for where the actual building will be located, Mayor Bob Simpson confirms that they are looking at a few different possibilities.