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Farmers and food producers country-wide gain “important financial flexibility they will need during these challenging times.”

While the fight to qualify for Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) compensation amid the COVID-19 outbreak continues, licensed cannabis producers may be able to get up to $500,000 in short-term loans under a new $5 billion Farm Credit Canada (FCC) stimulus.

The coronavirus has sparked a boom in Canadian cannabis sales, but the industry as a whole has been struggling of late, with plenty of staff layoffs and some closures.

“Like many Canadians, I am truly grateful for our farmers and food business owners and employees, who continue working hard so we all have quality food on our grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. Their continued work is essential to our plan to manage COVID-19,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, said in a statement when the package was announced earlier this week.

“The measures announced today will provide farmers and food producers across the country with important financial flexibility they will need during these challenging times,” Bibeau said.

Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is the country’s leading agriculture and food lender. The Crown corporation provides “flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge” designed for Canada’s food and agriculture industries.

The office of FCC chief communicator Trevor Sutter has confirmed that licensed cannabis producers will qualify as farmers under the stimulus. FCC “is working with customers to offer loan payment deferrals and short-term credit products up to a maximum of $500,000 to assist with cash flow needs,” Sutter told Western Investor.

“Businesses applying for FCC lending products will be subject to normal lending due diligence, which considers business viability, credit history and management integrity and experience. In order to be eligible, businesses needed to be financially viable entities prior to the impact of COVID-19.”

 

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