The lack of a program puts Canadian farmers at a disadvantage, groups say
By Diego Flammini
Saskatchewan ag industry organizations are calling for the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) to create a daily and weekly reporting program to improve market transparency.
Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), SaskBarley, SaskCanola, SaskFlax, SaskOats, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers and Sask Wheat want the CGC to create an export sales program similar to what American farmers have access to.
Since 1973, the United States Department of Agriculture has been required by law to publish weekly foreign export and sales reports using data from exporters.
American legislators passed the law in response to unexpected purchases of large amounts of grain by the Soviet Union in 1972.
In cases where an exporter sells 100,000 metric tons or more of certain commodities in a day, U.S. exporters must report those transactions the following business day.
The American program monitors about 40 per cent of total U.S. ag exports.
Canada does not have its own reporting program, even though it is one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat.
Implementing one could help farmers in multiple ways, said Todd Lewis, president of APAS.
“Producers are looking for more clarity around the amount of grain that’s exported to get more price discovery in the marketplace,” he told Farms.com. “We’re at a competitive disadvantage with our American neighbours.”
This kind of reporting system could also help farmers with other opportunities, Lewis added.
“If a producer can identify a crop or another opportunity that makes sense for them and their operation, this report could go a long way in helping with that discovery,” he said.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is currently reviewing the Canada Grain Act, and the producer groups want the reporting system to be part of the revamped law.
It’s unknown when a decision on the Act will be publicized, but the current political climate in Canada could put the whole process on hold.
“If an election is called, that will affect any report that comes out,” Lewis said. “We’re hopeful to hear something by the end of the calendar year.”