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Ont. farm groups support trade mission

Ont. farm groups support trade mission

Ministers Hardeman and Fedeli will travel to South Korea and Japan

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Two Ontario ag organizations are pleased with the government’s plans to promote local agriculture on an upcoming trade mission.

Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ernie Hardeman and Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Vic Fedeli will lead a trade mission to South Korea and Japan starting Oct. 12, Premier Ford announced during the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo in Verner, Ont. last week.

The trade mission comes at a time when a major meat importer isn’t accepting Canadian shipments.

China, which imported about $63.6 million of Canadian beef during the first four months of 2019, has refused all meat exports from Canada since July because of forged veterinary certificates.

Without access to the Chinese market, expanding market access in other countries is vital for the industry.

“The trade mission will provide a good opportunity to promote Ontario beef and flagship brands like Ontario Corn Fed Beef, while also fostering relationships with key market contacts in the region,” Richard Horne, executive director of Beef Farmers of Ontario, told Farms.com in an email. “More importantly however, the mission provides recognition of the costs the escalating trade disruptions and barriers are having on Ontario beef farmers.

"Immediate assistance is critically needed to help relieve some of the pressure our farmers are facing. Farmers are in an untenable situation right now, one that is neither manageable nor sustainable in the long-term."

Ontario’s swine industry, which exported about $310 million worth of products to China between January and April of this year, is also part of the ban.

The trade mission will give potential customers in Japan and South Korea a chance to see how passionate Ontario pork producers are, said Eric Schwindt, chair of Ontario Pork.

“In recent months, Ontario’s pork sector has faced significant challenges in the wake of trade disputes and global disease threats,” he told Farms.com in an email. “What hasn’t changed is our reputation for producing a top-quality protein, based on our high standards of animal care and food safety.”

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