The federal ag critic met with Manitoba producers on Wednesday
By Diego Flammini
The federal government isn’t doing enough to help Canadian canola farmers through the trade disruption with China and it’s having significant effects, said Luc Berthold, the federal Conservative ag critic.
Growers expressed deep levels of concern to Berthold during meetings in Manitoba yesterday.
“What we heard is very troubling,” Berthold said, PortageOnline reported. “It’s still a crisis to farmers all around here in Manitoba. It’s still a crisis for their mental health because there’s a lot of uncertainty right now for all the producers. They just don’t know how the government is handling this file and it’s very concerning. They … want the government to act (and) to do something because now they are left in the dark.”
Farmers are aware of the steps the federal government has taken so far to resolve the issue.
They know the Canadian ag minister has requested to send a delegation to China and is waiting for a response.
But producers want to know what some of the federal government’s other ideas are, said Charles Fossay, president of Manitoba Canola Growers.
“Farmers understand the China issue but are asking what else the government is doing,” he told Farms.com. “Do they have a Plan B or Plan C to get China to meet with us to discuss concerns? That’s where the uncertainty is.”
While nationally Canadian canola farmers plan to scale acreages back by almost 7 per cent in 2019, Statistics Canada forecasted, the trade dispute with China doesn’t appear to be affecting Manitoba’s planting season.
In that province, farmers plan to seed 3.3 million acres in 2019 compared to 3.4 million acres in 2018. That number is on par with annual averages, Fossay said.
“So far, it’s seeding as usual,” he said. “Most people have committed to growing canola. The numbers from Stats Canada are the normal types of adjustments you see because you have to account for rotation.”