The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) outlined the key priorities for the sector to Ontario’s ag minister in advance of the Agriculture Annual Conference to be held July 18-19 in Quebec City. Recommendations relate to financial protection of produce sellers, labour, crop protection, business risk management, the use of plastics and trade.
In regards to financial protection, the OFVGA recommends enabling legislation to provide Canadian fruit and vegetable farmers with financial protection against insolvent buyers. The legislation would create assurance for Canadian fruit and vegetable farmers by giving them priority access to the buyer’s cash, inventory and accounts receivable from an insolvent produce buyer to help offset losses associated with product delivered but not paid for.
OFVGA recommends a review of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program which has added red tape, cost and stress to farmers.
Regarding crop protection, OFVGA suggests that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada work more closely to address gaps in product use data and technical understanding of how crop protection products are used by farmers. Secondly, a national water monitoring group is recommended at Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to oversee the monitoring of pest control products in the environment.
When addressing business risk management the OFVGA states that a fundamental change to the approach of farm safety nets policies for Ontario and Canada, including:
- - An immediate increase in the AgriStability margin coverage to 85%, immediate removal of the AgriStability Reference Margin Limit (RML).
- - Implementing the most promising recommendations made by National Producer Advisory Committee (NPAC) to improve AgriStability.
- - FPT governments should immediately examine options for enhancing access to production insurance for those sectors that have inadequate or no coverage.
- - Improve the Advanced Payment Program (APP) by applying the recent new rules for canola growers to other crops such as fruit and vegetables
OFVGA is looking to work with government to reduce barriers to accessing effective recycling and composting solutions, whether they be at the individual or municipal level.
Regarding trade, OFVGA recommends that the federal government, with support of the provinces, put resources towards new export markets, and ensure that existing export markets remain open and viable for Ontario farmers.
Source: Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association