More than one million cartons, each containing a dozen eggs, will be redistributed via an emergency federal program designed to address a key challenge facing farmers: having too much food and nowhere to sell it. A farmer sorts through eggs as they exit the hen barn at an egg farm in West Lincoln, Ont., on Monday, March 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Chicken, eggs both go first as feds roll out COVID-19 food surplus program

$50-million surplus food program was announced by the Liberal government earlier this year

More than one million dozen eggs will be redistributed via an emergency federal program designed to help farmers faced with too much food and nowhere to sell it.

The $50-million surplus food program was announced by the Liberal government earlier this year as one way to help the agriculture sector cope with some of the pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The near shutdown of the hospitality industry has meant a sharp decline in the number of places to sell perishable foods, meaning hundreds of millions of kilograms of food are at risk of going to waste.

At the same time, food banks are reporting a sharp increase in the number people seeking assistance, having lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Today, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau is announcing the first round of funding under program will go to eight organizations to try and align their needs with what farmers and producers can supply.

Altogether, approximately 12 million kilograms of everything from fish to fowl will be redistributed.

The Canadian Press

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