National Farmers Union members had the opportunity to meet with Olivier De Shutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, on Thursday evening May 10th, 2012. De Shutter is in Canada on an official country visit investigating how well Canada is delivering on its commitment to the human right to food.
"The NFU is very supportive of this mission and we feel that his examination of a developed country like Canada will show how government policy here impacts both food producers and food eaters. We discussed a wide range of issues ranging from trade agreements, intellectual property rights, food regulations, Canadian Grain Commission, Canadian Wheat Board, concentration in the cattle and meat packing sector, and supply management," said Terry Boehm, NFU President. "The conversation was animated and we were very pleased to have the opportunity to present our views. Dr. De Shutter was very engaged and posed a series of penetrating questions for us to follow up with," he added.
"Unfortunately the focus by Canada’s government on expanding trade at all costs is leading our country down some very unsavory paths, with farmers becoming the victims of policies that undermine their autonomy and their ability to prosper in the future," said Paul Slomp, NFU Youth Vice President.
"Our food system is being undermined by trade deals, intellectual property rights that increasingly restrict farmers’ ability to save seed, and competition policy that allows concentration to essentially go unbridled leaving farmers at the mercy of monopolies and oligopolies in the grain, cattle and rail sector as well as in fertilizers and other farm supplies," said Boehm. “Making matters worse is the federal government’s attack on the Canadian Wheat Board, Canadian Grain Commission, and the cuts to funding of Agriculture Canada and its support to Canadian farmers," he further emphasized.
The NFU looks forward to working with Dr. De Shutter in the future and looks forward to his final report.
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For more information:
Terry Boehm, NFU President: (306) 255-2880 or (306) 257-3689
Paul Slomp, NFU Youth Vice President: (613) 898-9136
Cathy Holtslander, NFU Director of Research and Policy: (306) 652-9465