B.C. farmers who donate surplus food to food banks, charities and school lunch programs are now able to claim a tax credit, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced on Thursday morning.

The credit is worth 25 per cent of the fair market value of the qualifying agricultural product donated to a registered charity by individuals and corporations that carry on the business of farming.

The agricultural product may include meat products, eggs or dairy products, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, herbs, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, nuts or other produce that has been grown, raised or harvested on a farm in B.C.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank CEO Aart Schuurman Hess welcomed the move.

"Over the last year, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank purchased almost 700,000 pounds of fresh produce to distribute to our members, so we applaud the Farmers' Food Donation Tax Credit which we hope will go a long way in encouraging the donation of nutritious, fresh, local produce." 

The Farmers' Food Donation Tax Credit was first introduced in the recent provincial budget. The credit is available for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years, after which the credit will be reviewed.