The B.C. government has unveiled a new funding program to help local farmers and food and beverage processors move more products online, in hopes to offset lost sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The province is allocating $300,000 towards the new Buy BC e-commerce initiative, which will allow more local products to be sold digitally.

The provincial government says this funding falls under the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC Partnership Program, which helps farmers, ranchers and food and beverage processors market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced.

The intent behind Buy BC is to make it easy for British Columbians to purchase such products locally.

“British Columbians have come together during these difficult times and continue to show their strength and support for each other,” said Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham in a statement.

“With the new Buy BC e-commerce funding, farmers and food and beverage processors can create a new avenue to sell their products directly to consumers all over the province, while maintaining physical distancing and safe practices.”

“Moving to online sales gives customers the opportunity to continue to Buy BC and enjoy fresh food, while supporting families in our communities.”

Specifically, the new funding will provide financial support for organizations to develop websites that can accommodate online sales, and can also cover costs of marketing and shipping products to customers.

Applications for the program are open to farmers and food and beverage processors in BC, and they can apply online between May 15th and 29th.

The applications for government funding will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis until all of the $300,000 aid is fully allocated.