KAP, fruit growers backed for COVID-related costs

Online infrastructure, work-from-home setups led to unexpected costs in 2020

Federal funding for organizations supporting small businesses will help Keystone Agricultural Producers and Prairie Fruit Growers Association pay for unexpected expenses brought on by COVID-19.

For KAP, this includes setting up staff to work from home and hosting webinars.

“All these things have additional costs, which for a small organization was unexpected,” said Patty Rosher, KAP’s general manager. “We want to continue to provide our services to our members and so we were really grateful for the federal government for the support to help us do that.”

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Melanie Joly, the federal minister of economic development, on Thursday announced just over $2.8 million in funds for organizations providing business support services, according to a news release.

The money comes from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, which the federal government established to reduce pressures on businesses caused by COVID-19.

KAP received $27,000 in funding, of which $8,000 will go to PFGA, Rosher said. They applied for the funds in June, she said.

The money will pay for an online ordering and booking system PFGA set up for members for the 2020 picking season. The system worked well for them, PFGA executive director Angie Cormier said.

“We definitely had to work through some kinks but have worked through those now in the off season and it will be even better for growers next year and going forward,” she said.

“We don’t see COVID going away anytime soon,” she added. “Our growers are preparing that this coming picking season in 2021 will be much like 2020 — very busy, with a high demand for fruit.”

About the author

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Geralyn Wichers

Geralyn Wichers grew up on a hobby farm near Anola, Manitoba, where her family raised cattle, pigs and chickens. Geralyn graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in 2019 and was previously a reporter for The Carillon in Steinbach. Geralyn is also a published author of science fiction and fantasy novels.

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