Is the Canadian Wheat Board Monopoly behind Canada’s Decline as a Wheat Super Power?
Last fall the Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s share of the global wheat market declined to fifteen per cent from twenty-three since 1995. Wheat production largely occurs in the Prairie Provinces, where farmers must sell wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB’s) single desk marketing approach. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers attribute the decline in wheat production to the CWB.
While Prairie Provinces have reduced their wheat acreage to plant crops outside the purview of the CWB, Ontario farmers have consistently taken advantage of the West’s regression by planting more and more wheat despite having far fewer acres available.
Although the case against the CWB here is not conclusive, it is very strong. Over thirty years, farmers in the best wheat growing areas (which also happen to be subject to the CWB monopoly) have reduced their acreage while Ontario farmers have increased theirs.
To the extent that the reduction in wheat acreage is influenced by the CWB, these trends are damning evidence. If the purpose of the Canadian Wheat Board is to promote the production and marketing of wheat, these figures suggest that the organization is achieving the opposite on the production side.
Source: Agriculture Canada (Market Analysis Group)