WINNIPEG — Vegetable wholesaler Peak of the Market is calling on the province to introduce a fresh food tax credit for farmers and agri-businesses.
The grower-owned food distributor says the credit would bolster support for local food banks by encouraging agricultural producers to donate more fresh food to eligible organizations.
“Ensuring all Canadians have access to fresh and healthy food is an important part of what we do at Peak,” said Pamela Kolochuk, CEO of Peak of the Market Ltd.
“We will continue to invest the time and effort it takes to donate food to people in need no matter the existence of a tax credit; however, we are hopeful this initiative can provide additional opportunity and incentive for Manitoba farmers to donate.”
Peak of the Market points to Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia, where producers receive tax credits ranging from 25 to 50 percent of the market value of donated products.
“More food donations also mean less food ending up in landfills,” added Kolochuk. “Much of the food we donate is healthy and nutritious but may not be retail grade due to cosmetic imperfections. Rather than throwing it out, we do everything we can to get it into the hands of people in need.”
The organization has sent a letter to Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn encouraging the government to adopt such a tax credit, which it says could have an impact on both local farmers and communities in need.
A spokesperson for Kostyshyn’s office tells ChrisD.ca that the minister received the letter last week but hasn’t had a chance to review it.
According to a 2016 Food Banks of Canada report, in the first year of the program in Quebec, food banks were able to recuperate an additional 460,000 kg of fresh food for people in need, while encouraging more than 100 new farms to give generously to their local food banks.