CFA welcomes dairy compensation, but other sectors need equal treatment

August 19th, OTTAWA – The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) welcomes the Federal Government’s announcement to provide $1.75 billion in compensation to dairy producers for lost market share due to the CETA and CPTPP trade agreements. Dairy Farmers of Canada has estimated that the market access granted under these agreements represents an annual loss equivalent to 8.4% of Canada’s milk production. The CFA commends the government’s recognition that trade agreements have negative consequences to some Canadian farmers and has followed through with its commitment to mitigate damages to the supply-managed sectors.

However, other sectors in Canadian agriculture, such as pork, beef and canola, have been equally negatively impacted by recent aggressive trade actions. As examples canola seed exports in 2018 were $2.7 billion, with China representing 40% of those sales. In 2018, pork exports were $4 billion, with China purchasing $514 million of that, making them the 3rd largest export market.

These markets are now effectively closed to Canadian farmers.

The impacted sectors require the same kind of government support that supply-managed sectors have received, whether through direct compensation or improved Business Risk Management programming.

Currently, canola and pork producers face a huge amount of uncertainty in their business as they grow and raise products that may have no opportunity to be sold due to Chinese trade actions against Canadian agricultural products. This disruption was not created by farmers, and instead is the result of geopolitical actions where the Canadian agriculture sector has become collateral damage.

“Farmers are under an immense amount of stress and anxiety as their livelihoods are being threatened by factors that are completely out of their control, with seemingly no end in sight. Without quick support, there will be long-term consequences to Canadian agriculture.” said Mary Robinson, President of CFA.

Without markets to sell their products, Canadian farmers run the risk of losing their operations. While Canadian agriculture has been identified as one of the sectors with the most potential for growth by the Barton Report, Canada risks losing that opportunity if it cannot help farmers weather the current storm caused by these trade disruptions.

“In this current global environment, being prepared for the type of trade disputes that we are seeing today is crucial. Canadian farmers need the government to be proactive in providing reliable tools and compensation to get us through these dire situations,” said Mary Robinson, President of CFA.

When industries such as Canadian steel and automotive sectors were hit with tariffs, the government’s reaction was swift and decisive in providing support.

While the dairy compensation is a positive step forward, CFA hopes that the Federal Government recognizes the detrimental consequences other commodities are facing through trade actions and steps up and develops equivalent support.