Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

January 09, 2008 18:21 ET

Minister's Statement/Minister Ritz Supports Open, Competitive Grain Market

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 9, 2008) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today issued the following statement regarding the Canadian Wheat Board's release of a cash pricing plan for the 2008 malting barley crop:

"Attempts by the Wheat Board to invent an imitation marketplace fall far short of the expressed will of barley producers. Farmers have demanded marketing choice. No bureaucratic program can replace this. It is time for the CWB to stop ignoring this unavoidable fact.

"The CWB's proposed scheme does not go far enough to offer accurate and transparent price signals back to the farm gate. This is nothing more than a diversion while still allowing the Board to retain an out of touch, centrally-controlled monopoly.

"The CWB appears perplexed by the fact its program continues to receive harsh criticism from industry and producer groups. The Board might have anticipated this push-back had it engaged in broad, meaningful consultations or taken seriously the mandate granted by the 62 per cent of barley producers who demanded marketing choice.

"As Minister, I have repeatedly advised the Board to consult with producers - the very constituency they purport to represent. I am disappointed that after months of inaction, the CWB has gone ahead with a plan that promises to be heavily bureaucratic, ineffective and contrary to the will of farmers and industry.

"Unlike the CWB, I believe the voice of farmers and industry matters. Western Canadian barley farmers have said they want marketing choice. This Government puts farmers first and we are working hard to give them this freedom."

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Todd MacKay
    Director of Communications