Leal asks consumers to buy Ontario pork amid Russian ban on Canadian food

Aug 10, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

The province’s Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal sent out a tweet on August 7, calling on the public to choose Ontario pork and other local produce when making food purchase decisions.

Leal took to social media following Russia’s decision to ban food imports from Canada, a move that the provincial minister expressed concern, could negatively impact Ontario farmers, especially pork producers.

The tweet said “I encourage folks to purchase Ontario pork and other local foods to help our farmers affected by the Russian sanctions. #ontag”

Pork accounts for the majority of Canada’s (and Ontario’s) food exports to Russia. In 2013, Ontario exported $18 million worth of pork products, which represents 7 per cent of the country’s total pork exports to Russia.

Russia imposed a one-year retaliatory sanction on Canadian food products, and agri-food imports from other countries that imposed restrictions on Russia due to Russia’s occupation of the Crimean Peninsula and aggressive military activity in eastern Ukraine.

“Ontario’s agri-food secotor, in particular our pork industry, is resilient, ” Minister Leal and Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade said in a joint release. “Farmers overcome challenges each and every day, all the while producing quality products that are exported to countries around the world.”

The province’s agri-food exports to Russia were about $37 million,  0.3 per cent of Ontario’s total food exports in 2013.