At Keystone Agricultural Producers’ spring Advisory Council meeting yesterday, KAP members discussed a wide range of issues – especially the current canola crisis.
KAP president Bill Campbell noted that federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau indicated she had forwarded a letter to her Chinese counterpart, requesting to send a delegation led by the president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to talk about the quality of Canada’s canola.
“We believe in a science-based approach to regulation and market access, and we support a technical delegation to China,” said Campbell. It is evident that China’s allegations are nor science-based or this would be sorted out by now.
“However, we need a diplomatic response as well, and we expect high-level elected officials to deal with China as soon as possible.
“Farmers want and need action immediately. We’re four weeks away from seeding, and each week we don’t get a decision puts us in a more precarious situation. We can’t sow 100 per cent of the canola we usually do when 40 per cent of the market is gone.”
KAP recognizes that the Advance Payments Program – a program that assists farmer with short-term cashflow, some of it interest free – could be an important tool if the limit and the interest-free portion were increased, and the deadline extended.
However, although this program may help in the short term, it will not help longer-term market disruptions.
“If prices don’t improve from the low they are at now due to lack of demand, many farmers will have difficulties paying their advances back,” said Campbell.
Another option could be the federal-provincial AgriStability program. However, Campbell says it was never intended to address this exceptional market disruption Canadian farmers are experiencing now.
“The long and the short of it is that we need an ad-hoc program designed for this critical situation – and we need it now,” he said.
Another issue addressed at the meeting was a review of the 1912 Canadian Grain Act that created the Canadian Grain Commission to protect the quality and reputation of Canada’s grains. Farmers and the industry can go to email@example.com to have their say.
In total, eight resolutions were passed at the meeting. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a list.
For more information
Val Ominski – communications – 204-697-1140
Bill Campbell – president – 204-724-6218