Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada Applaud AGRI Committee’s Recommendations on Food Price Stabilization

May 29, 2024

OTTAWA – The Fruit and Vegetable Growers of Canada (FVGC) have welcomed the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food’s (AGRI) recent report, which provides key recommendations aimed at stabilizing rising food prices. FVGC appreciates the Committee’s efforts and is particularly encouraged by the consistency between the AGRI report and FVGC’s own advocacy and 2024 budget recommendations.

Marcus Janzen, President of FVGC, stated, “The AGRI Committee’s report is a significant step forward in addressing the critical challenges faced by our sector. We are encouraged by the alignment between their recommendations and our advocacy, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts to support the agricultural community.” Janzen’s advocacy during his appearance before the AGRI committee in February 2024 helped shape the report’s recommendations, and his comments were included in the report.

A key legislative measure supported by the report is the unamended Bill C-234, which aims to provide financial relief to farmers by fully exempting certain farm fuels from the carbon tax. This aligns with FVGC’s call for the House of Commons to pass Bill C-234 in its original form, ensuring that carbon pricing exemptions cover all main fuel types used in agriculture. Rather than changing behaviour, the current carbon costs act as a punitive measure, negatively impacting both farmers and consumers. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated that Bill C-234 will save Canadian farmers $1 billion by 2030, reducing the cost of food for Canadian families.

Both AGRI and FVGC emphasize the need for a grocers’ code of conduct to ensure fair trading practices and transparency in the supply chain. Labour reforms, including improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, are crucial for addressing labour shortages and ensuring a stable, skilled workforce for the agricultural sector. Additionally, both AGRI and FVGC call for reciprocity standards to ensure imported products meet the same safety and quality standards as domestic produce.

The AGRI report acknowledges the economic impact of transitioning from plastic packaging and stresses the need for balanced, practical solutions that consider sustainability while maintaining the supply of high-quality, fresh produce. The report also advocates for standardized Price Look-Up (PLU) codes to enhance traceability and efficiency in the supply chain.

The AGRI report aligns closely with FVGC’s 2024 budget recommendations in several key areas. Both emphasize the need for increased funding and support for sustainable agricultural practices, including investments in technology and research. Improved market access for Canadian growers and reducing trade barriers are also shared goals. Both documents call for robust agricultural infrastructure and stress the importance of climate resilience, advocating for dedicated funds to help growers adapt to climate change impacts. Enhanced health and safety standards for agricultural workers and improved financial support and risk management tools are also highlighted.

FVGC calls on the government to implement the AGRI Committee’s recommendations to ensure the sustainability of the fruit and vegetable sector and stabilize rising food prices, benefiting all Canadians.

Source : FVCG
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