Grains sector backed to develop export rejection insurance

Code of practice for 'sustainable' crops also in works

The organization representing Canada’s crops sector will get public funding to develop an insurance plan against the “unpredictability” of export customers.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, speaking Wednesday at the CropConnect conference in Winnipeg, announced over $430,000 for the Canada Grains Council to develop a pilot insurance product for grain exporters.

Such an insurance plan would go to “address the risks they face of having their shipments rejected at the border of the importing country,” the government said.

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Ottawa “wants to insure that grain farmers are protected against the unpredictability of the international market and the risks of regulatory trade barriers, particularly around the input residues on seeds,” the government said in a release.

The council will also get $789,558 toward developing a voluntary “code of practice for farm production of Canadian grains.”

The guidelines to be developed “will help farmers encode the best practices to follow to be considered sustainable, for both market and public trust purposes,” the government said.

The codes for crops would “cover a range of topics, including fertilizer management, pesticide use, soil management, farm workers and protection of wildlife habitat, as well as food safety and work safety.”

‘Market readiness’

The Canada Grains Council, in operation since 1969, represents the crops value chain nationwide and is tasked with spearheading efforts to boost sales and use of Canadian grain in domestic and international markets.

Public money for the CGC’s insurance project will flow through AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI), a five-year, $55 million program to support development of new risk management tools through the federal/provincial; Canadian Agricultural Partnership funding framework.

The code of practice project will be backed via the federal AgriAssurance program, budgeted for up to $74 million over five years to help ag sector groups develop “systems, standards and tools that enable them to make credible, meaningful and verifiable claims about the health and safety of Canadian agricultural and agri-food products, and the manner in which they are produced.”

Codes of practice for production aren’t new to Canada’s ag sector; similar codes for care and handling of various types and breeds of livestock are today being developed and updated by the National Farm Animal Care Council, which was set up in 2005.

The $1.2 million total funding envelope announced Wednesday for the grains council is expected to help address “two key issues facing the sector: better risk management tools and market readiness,” Bibeau said in the government’s release.

“Despite Canada’s solid reputation worldwide as a high-quality and trustworthy provider of grain and oilseed products, we cannot take this for granted,” CGC president Tyler Bjornson said in the same release.

“Exploring new ways to help producers and industry address market access risks, as well as maintain consumer confidence that we are doing the right things to produce sustainable and safe food, are an essential part of our long-term strategy as a sector.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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