Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) is calling on the federal government to develop a strategy to address an increasingly unpredictable trade environment affecting the incomes of grain farmers across Canada. The group says the strategy should recognize that China’s blocking of Canadian canola is politically motivated, which was acknowledged last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“The time has come for the Canadian Government to aggressively defend the interests of Canada’s agriculture sector in China and around the world,” said GGC Chair Jeff Nielsen. “This is a non-partisan issue and Canadian farmers need government support to ensure that we are well positioned to weather this storm.”
GGC is asking the Government to consider ways in which it can support Canadian farmers starting by the immediate implementation of meaningful changes to the AgriStability Program to ensure it is a bankable, predictable, simple and scalable program. This includes coverage for margin losses below 85 per cent and removal of the reference margin limit. GGC says these changes can be made under the current Business Risk Management program framework.
The group adds while changes to the Advanced Payment Program (APP) may only help farmers manage cash flow issues in the near-term, the increase in the interest-free portion from $100,000 to $500,000 should not be limited to canola. CGC says several commodities are being negatively impacted by the current situation either directly or indirectly and the government needs to open the interest free portion up to all commodities.
“The issues we are seeing with trade into China can no longer be said to be commodity specific,” said GGC Vice Chair Markus Haerle. “As a soybean farmer I’ve seen my prices plummet and markets close due to the flooding of the market by US product."