Ottawa: “Former Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall-Findlay has made public both her opposition to, and her lack of understanding of Canada’s supply management system for dairy in the report she presented in a press conference yesterday,” said Paul Slomp, National Farmers Union(NFU) Youth Vice President. “Her report is full of misinformation, skewed statistics, contradictions,and reprehensible arguments calling to eliminate supply management in order to gain points in behind-closed-doors international trade negotiations.”
“Supply management is the system we use here in Canada to make sure that there is always enough for Canadian consumers, and so we don’t end up dumping excess production down the drain,” said Randall Affleck, NFU Regional Coordinator and PEI dairy farmer. “It is set up to make sure that we farmers are paid a price that covers our cost of production. By controlling imports through tariffs, supply management keeps foreign companies from dumping their surplus in our market. It’s a win, win, win situation. The government is right to keep it off the table at trade negotiations. I hope they stick to their guns,” he added.
Processors are also provided with stability and predictability of supply and price. Supply managed sectors are distributed across the country, with farms and processing jobs located in each province. Because they operate primarily within Canada, they are not buffeted by price volatility due to wild swings in currency exchange rates or unexpected market disruptions caused by events outside our borders.
“Without supply management, taxpayers would end up paying twice for their poultry and dairy products – at the store and through increased government Business Risk Management program costs. With supply management we don’t need farm safety net programs that are triggered by market volatility, and which are essential to the survival of non-supply management farms,” added Affleck. “In a completely deregulated dairy market, subsidies would be required, or else family farms like mine would struggle to survive when our market gets flooded with cheap imports from US and New Zealand companies trying to get rid of their surplus.”
“The farmer’s share of the dollar paid for milk in the grocery store is only a small part – processors and retailers each take a larger cut. Prices to consumers would not drop if farmers were paid less than the cost of production. It would just mean higher profits for the other players in the dairy system. By paying a fair return to farmers, supply management keeps dollars in the rural communities, supporting families and local businesses, instead of exporting money to the shareholders of the big processing companies and retail conglomerates,” said Peter Dowling, NFU Ontario council member and a dairy farmer. “Consumers can trust that the products they consume meet Canadian standards for food safety. Canadian dairy farmers don’t use genetically modified growth hormones which are commonly used in the USA,” he added.
“In the absence of farmers with market power at the negotiating table, large processors and retailers will take as much as they can from both farmers and consumers. Supply management provides farmers with this market power,” said Slomp.
Supply management is a system that works, and is a model that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has recommended to other countries as a way to ensure fairness and food security within and between countries.
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For more information:
Paul Slomp, NFU Youth Vice President: (613) 898-9136
Randall Affleck, NFU Regional Coordinator (Atlantic): (902) 887-2597 or (902) 432-0930
Peter Dowling, NFU Ontario Council Member: (613) 546-0869 or (613) 539-3155