B.C.'s demand for seeds skyrocketing as another pandemic spring looms | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s demand for seeds skyrocketing as another pandemic spring looms

West Coast seed supplier Aaron Saks says demand is almost overwhelming for seeds this year, but there shouldn't be any shortages.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Westcoast Seeds Facebook page
February 04, 2021 - 7:00 AM

The start of the pandemic in March last year saw British Columbia seed sellers scrambling to fill a sudden increase in seed orders.

The growth in demand was brought on by the onset of COVID-19 restrictions that saw many B.C. residents turn to gardening for something to do while sequestered at home.

Ladner-based West Coast Seeds president Aaron Saks says it's even busier this year than last March, when the company saw five to seven times the usual orders placed at what is already a busy time of year.

“When COVID-19 hit in March, it was a shock to the system, but many people had already placed their orders. I don’t think anyone knew what was really going on and how long the pandemic was going to last at that time,” Saks says.

“This year, people are much more aware of what spring is going to be like in terms of social activity. They know they are going to be home, and demand has been very, very strong for seeds, January into February,” he says.

Saks says it will be interesting to compare sales at the end of March, when COVID-19’s influence will have been felt for a whole year.

“Right now, demand is skyrocketing like crazy,” he says.

From Saks’ point of view, it doesn’t look like there will be a seed shortage this year, although he has been fielding concerns from customers about the prospect.

“We tried to purchase enough seeds to last a full season, fully anticipating a busy year. Overall, I think our stock levels are very good. We should be able to fill most orders,” he says.

Saks says it is taking the company longer to fill orders this year, mainly due to warehouse size constrictions, COVID-19 protocols and other safety measures the company is taking to protect employees from the pandemic.

“There’s a limit to the number of transactions we can do in a day, but we are doing everything we can to respond,” he says.

West Coast Seeds provides seed products to more than 30 different retail outlets in Kamloops and Okanagan cities. Saks says the stores may not be fully stocked yet, but the seed season has been starting a little earlier in the past few years.

He says the seed racks can take up a lot of space in stores, so retailers may not put them out this early in the year.

“People are excited about their gardens and want to start planning things out. This year, everyone wants their seeds right away – we’re trying to get our product out there as fast as possible, but demand is almost overwhelming,” Saks says.

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