QUEBEC CITY, March 7, 2001 -- Federal and provincial agriculture ministers and a representative from Yukon discussed the immediate income problems of producers and a range of other challenges facing the Canadian agri-food industry during a day and a half of meetings here.
There was a full and frank exchange on income issues and short term support to farmers.
Ministers discussed the need for a long-term strategy to ensure the sector is well-placed to take advantage of future opportunities. They agreed on the urgency of working toward a flexible and comprehensive policy framework that will ensure security through research and innovation and the management of all types of risks.
Ministers acknowledged that consumers are raising the bar in respect to the food they purchase, demanding assurances of its safety and the environmental impact of its production process.
Ministers agreed to work on building on the solid reputation Canada has for food safety and environmental sustainability, as well as on assessing the package of safety net programs and other tools farmers need to adjust to market changes.
Ministers underlined that producers are central to any long-term strategy for the agri-food sector and that they will be consulted and full partners in the development of any framework.
Ministers were also updated on the status of the agriculture negotiations at the WTO in Geneva. Also relating to trade, Ministers acknowledged the role PEI potato growers have played in ensuring the U.S. market remained open to Canadian producers as a result of the potato wart situation and recommend the federal government recognize the value of PEI producers’ sacrifice.
Ministers were also updated on federal measures to prevent the introduction of foot and mouth disease into Canada. They were united in support of stringent measures to keep this disease out of the country.
The annual meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers will take place in June in Whitehorse, Yukon.