The Canadian federal government is launching a $100-million Agriculture and Food Business Solutions Fund to support proven, viable companies through unexpected business disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, through Farm Credit Canada (FCC), the government says in a release on May 14. The fund is being launched in partnership with Calgary-based venture capital firm Forage Capital Inc., with FCC as the sole investor.
“This type of investment fund will offer companies another option when faced with business disruptions. Through the application of flexible and innovative solutions, the investments will preserve jobs and strengthen food security for all Canadians,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in the release.
The fund is set up to support a wide range of enterprises in the agribusiness and agri-food sector, including companies involved in primary production, agri-tech, manufacturing, packaging and distribution, the release notes. Applicants will be able to access up to $10 million in funding, with applications being assessed individually.
To qualify, companies will need to show an impact from an unexpected business disruption, such as the loss of a key supplier, temporary loss of a facility or permanent loss of critical staff or leadership, the release says. Funds cannot be used to repay shareholder loans or purchase shareholder equity positions.
This announcement follows the government’s previous FCC funding announcement on March 23. Since then more than 4,800 producers and agri-food businesses have used payment deferral options on FCC loans.