Supply Management: Considering This Marketing Tool

July 2, 2021 | Paul Bootsma

Supply Management: Considering This Marketing Tool

Canada is a rich country, particularly in natural resources and there is much to offer anyone who has ambition for work or business. There is a lot to be thankful for living in the land of Canada. As a nation we have been blessed.

According to trade expert Al Mussel, agriculture is one of those “resources that gives opportunity and needs to be fully utilized to help drive our national economy.” Agriculture is one of the leading industries of the Ontario economy, and CFFO is pleased to have the opportunity to advise provincial government on agricultural policy development. We are optimistic about agriculture, our farmers and Canada.

Recently, there have been some articles in the media about trade issues with agricultural products, specifically supply managed products. There are differing opinions about this marketing tool; however, like it or not, many acknowledge what it has done for Canadian agriculture and farmers.

Milk and egg supply management came from a problem of chronic surplus brought on by new technology and serious concerns about processor market power. This marketing tool was selected to protect farmer’s revenues versus an integrated industry.

We need to remember the size of the US. For example, in 2019, the United States produced around 15 times the amount of chicken that Canada did. In 2020, the US produced nearly eleven times more milk than Canada.

A recent article released by the Fraser Institute suggests that the federal government is supporting price-gouging for eggs and chicken when they paid out producers because of the CUSMA agreement. However, the article does not consider what would happen if supply management were not in place. Neither did it explain that by giving more Canadian market access to US producers, Canadian farmers lost several percentages of production, without gaining equal access to the American market to try to recoup their losses.

Many studies have been conducted comparing Canadian and American food prices, only to conclude that there is little difference. The dollar exchange has more impact on food prices than supply management. Canadian agriculture does well in producing affordable food. 

Canada is well recognized for its safe and healthy food, and consumers should be concerned with the quality of imports. Supply management keeps agriculture in Canada. Without it we may not find many domestic products on our shelves.

With all the opportunities we have in our nation, let’s support our agricultural industry with our buying power when purchasing food. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Paul Bootsma is Field Services Manager for the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario. The CFFO Commentary represents the opinions of the writer and does not necessarily represent CFFO policy. The CFFO Commentary is heard weekly on CFCO Chatham, CKXS Chatham, CKNX Wingham, and CHLP Listowel.