Canadian Manufacturing

Farmers still require help amid supply chain interruptions, labour shortages and costs

Only 29% of farmers say the $252 million relief package will be helpful

May 22, 2020  by CM Staff

Crops grown at Hempco’s Edmonton facility will be used to make food; medicinal oil; and fibre for paper products, textiles and building materials.

REGINA – Canada’s food producers are asking for more help from the government amid supply chain interruptions, labour shortages and mounting costs, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

CFIB research reveals that only 29% of farmers say the federal emergency funding that was recently announced will be helpful for their agri-business.

“We are hearing heart-breaking stories about farmers having to plough down crops, destroy produce, or contemplate putting down their livestock due to reduced capacity at processing facilities or changes in market demand brought on by COVID-19,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s vice-president of Western Canada and agri-business, in a prepared statement. “The government needs to move fast and provide more support for the entire industry to protect Canada’s food supply.”

The federal government announced $252 million in emergency funding to help farmers and processing facilities adapt to the pandemic and $5 billion in increased lending capacity through Farm Credit Canada.

The new 3-year Agri-Food Pilot will also help fill ongoing labour needs and provide a pathway to permanent residency which CFIB has advocated for in the past.

However, food producers say the effects of the pandemic will be felt for many seasons to come and that the recent emergency relief announcements and current programs will not work for most.

CFIB’s research found that:

  • 42% of farmers in the livestock sector said the emergency relief will be helpful for their agri-business, while almost 50% said it will not be helpful
  • 25% of fruit, vegetables and horticultural farms and 28% of food product processing say the emergency relief will be helpful
  • 48% of farmers are worried about debt
  • 40% of agri-business owners are worried the “new normal” will not be sustainable for their business

“While the $252 millions in emergency funding is a good first step, these results indicate there is much more needed to address the devastating impacts of COVID -19 on the agriculture sector,” said Braun-Pollon in a statement. “The federal government has indicated ‘these measures are an initial investment and if we need to add more we will’ – well, the time is now to do more.”


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