Competitiveness in Canadian Agriculture

Briefing and powerpoint slides from testimony presented to the Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in Ottawa by Frontier Research Associate Les Routledge, June 2, 2009 (11 slides).

First, I want to express the appreciation of our organization for being given the opportunity to comment on this topic. As a person who comes from the rural and agricultural community, I always welcome the opportunity to discuss policy issues that affect both me and our rural communities.

Competition Levels

This is a complicated topic with respect to farm input but is one that does need to be dealt with in public policy. The simple answer is to open up our borders to unrestricted imports of ag inputs without regard to the standards that exist in Canada.

The problem with this approach is that it runs the risk of destroying the Canadian brand of quality in the international markets and community.

Instead, we need to look at harmonizing input product standards among our trading partner to promote more competition in the inputs sector of the ag industry.

Competition in the processing and retail sectors is a very complex issue that requires careful thought in public policy. Processors and retailers have to operate in a global competitive environment where they do not enjoy the privilege of setting their market price. Like farmers, they too must accept what the market is willing to pay for the end product.

There is an exception in Canada with the Canadian Wheat Board and marketing boards that address this problem. I will come back to this topic later in this paper.

Read the Entire Brief (4 Pages)

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