The combination of an increasingly uncertain and disruptive global trade situation and a polarizing federal election creates a situation in which agri-food policy will be called to fill a larger role. In an Independent Agri-Food Policy Note released November 5, 2019, Agri-Food Economic Systems argues that fractious debates could consume the new minority government. However, agricultural policy could serve as a key instrument of re-engagement for the federal government with regions, notably the west.
“The agriculture portfolio faces immediate, daunting challenges relating to farm incomes, export market access issues, regional economic development, and the Canadian impacts of African Swine Fever in China and East Asia -- a potential global food security threat,” says Douglas Hedley, Agri-Food Economic Systems associate and co-author of the report. “None of these issues are neutral from either a commodity, political party, or regional standpoint.”
“It is becoming increasingly evident that Canada will need to develop alternative domestic and trade policies for agri-food -- we must redouble our efforts toward the revitalization of the WTO and rules-based trade, and yet prepare ourselves for a world in which liberalized trade as we have known it is no longer attainable,” said Ted Bilyea, Agri-Food Economic Systems associate and co-author of the report. “We must plan for the worst even as we hope for the best.”
“How Canada engages China and climate change are signature policy issues” says report co-author Al Mussell, Agri-Food Economic Systems research lead. “Agriculture can -- and must -- assume a greater role than it has in advancing these priorities. The politics of accommodation simply will not cut it. The issues are too many, too important, and too urgent.”
The policy note is available at www.agrifoodecon.ca Agri-Food Economic Systems is an independent economic research organization dedicated to agri-food located in Guelph, Ontario.
Source: Agri-Food Economic Systems November 5, 2019 news release