OTTAWA-- With news of the federal government's decision to reject the initial Australia-based BHP Billiton takeover bid of Potash Corporation Inc, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) renews its call for the federal government to improve stability and competition within the fertilizer industry. Industry Minister Tony Clement advised yesterday that BHP has 30 days to revise its offer.
"Regardless of company ownership, Canadian farmers expect the government to ensure that providers of crop nutrients will make their products available and accessible at a fair market price," said Ron Bonnett, CFA President. "Supplies of key nutrients like potash are strategic resources for Canada and are directly tied an individual farmer's bottom line. This has the potential to affect food production across the country."
Farmers have for several years been concerned about fertilizer price volatility and the Potash takeover bid has intensified these concerns. Fertilizer prices have risen steadily since 2005 and were particularly unstable in 2008, when fluctuating world commodity prices resulted in a 64% increase, according to Statistics Canada. Agricultural production costs at the time skyrocketed and had a ripple effect through the economy, which saw food prices rise as well.
"This is about more than national pride and investor profit. It's about food, and how Canada is prepared for increased food production over the long-term," said Greg Marshall, President of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. "Canada is a major exporter of farm products and policy makers should keep in mind that expensive inputs generally make our exports less competitive."
CFA leaders feel that with the current state of the fertilizer industry, government must take steps to protect the availability of our valuable national resources. It is vital to our farmers and by extension our rural communities.
CFA has supported the recommendations on the fertilizer industry put forward by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture in its recent report on competitiveness.CFA is committed to working with the Competition Bureau on this issue.
Farm leaders are in the midst of consultation with governments, food processors and distributors, and retailers on a broad range of food production issues as part of the CFA-initiated National Food Strategy (NFS). The NFS is a long-term project that will examine the many interconnected issues around the future of Canadian food.
About the Canadian Federation of Agriculture
Founded in 1935 to provide Canada's farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country's largest farmers' organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations, national and inter-provincial commodity organizations, and cooperatives from every province. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.
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To view the release on CFA's website, click HERE