November 3, 2011
Canadian grain farmers given more opportunities
Canada's Harper Government is working to strengthen the Canadian cropping sector by maintaining and expanding market access and returning to Western grain farmers the right to market their wheat and barley in the best interest of their farm businesses.
"Our Government's top priority is the economy, in which agriculture plays a vital role," said Minister Ritz during a speech to Alberta grain and special crop farmers in Leduc. "We are committed to working with farmers and producers of Canada's world class canola, pulses and grains to make sure they can continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve in a competitive marketplace."
Minister Ritz reiterated the importance of market access and highlighted the shared accomplishments by Government and industry outlined in a recent market access report. The report shows that collaboration and coordination of market-access efforts and activities have resulted in reopened, maintained and expanded access for canola, wheat and pulses. For example, the report notes that transitional measures negotiated with China for canola seed exports have enabled farmers to maintain access worth in excess of CAD1.8 billion (US$1.76 billion) annually.
Once it receives Royal Assent, the Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act will give Western Canadian farmers the right to sell their wheat, durum and barley as they choose. An open grain market will attract investment, encourage innovation, create value added jobs, and build a stronger economy for all Canadians.
"Our Government is working to make sure that the future of wheat and barley farming is bright," said Minister Ritz. "The Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act will give Western Canadian grain farmers marketing freedom as well as new economic opportunities by encouraging investment, driving innovation and having more buyers bidding on their top quality grain."
Minister Ritz also reiterated the Government's commitment to improving the effectiveness, efficiency and reliability of Canada's rail freight supply chain and noted Transport Canada's recent appointment of Jim Dinning to lead the facilitation process. This process will bring together shippers, railways and other key players to develop a template for service agreements and a streamlined commercial dispute resolution process.
Canada is the world's fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products with annual exports worth over CAD35 billion (US$34.4 billion). Canada's trade in agriculture and food products contributed more than CAD11 billion (US$10.8 billion) to our trade surplus.