Eight farm and agri-food groups call for an end to border protests and blockades

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Several agriculture groups are calling for an immediate conclusion of the blockades of Canada’s transport and trade corridors, and for all levels of government to work collaboratively towards action on the issue.

Protests have hampered or stopped the transport of fruits and vegetables, meat, food packaging, feed supplies, livestock shipments, transport equipment, and inputs for agriculture and food processing, negatively impacting Canada’s supply and delivery of essential goods.

“Canada and the U.S. have the largest two-way trade of essential goods and each day the blockades continue further strains these integral supply chains and the Canadian economy. In 2020, Canada and the U.S. traded $50 billion of agriculture and food for an average of $137 million per day with Coutts, Alta., Emerson, Man., and the Ambassador Bridge at Windsor, Ont., being key trade routes for these goods,” the group says.

Calling for action are the: Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Horticultural Council, Canadian Pork Council, Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Produce Marketing Association, and National Cattle Feeders’ Association.

“Governments must recognize the negative impact these recent blockades and convoys are having on Canada’s critical trade infrastructure, which includes the agriculture and agri-food sector, and take immediate actions to restore the supply chain,” says Mary Robinson, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

The blockades have had a significant impact on livestock movement, and on feed movement, as well. The Coutts crossing into the U.S. is an incredibly significant one for the cattle and beef industry.

“Pork industry’s supply chain operates on a structured, just in time delivery system for animal feed, movement of live animals across Canada and the U.S. and many more critical materials that keep our industry providing food for Canadians. Supply chain delays impact producers’ mental health and the potentially the health and welfare of the animals we are entrusted to care for. Our industry cannot sustain any more delays,” says Rick Bergmann, chair of the Canadian Pork Council.

Protests of government COVID-19 mandates are now in their third weekend at Parliament Hill, at Ottawa, Ont. The blockade of the Emerson and Windsor border crossings began earlier this week.

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