Food Production is an Essential Service: Are Governments Providing Farmers with Adequate Aid during Covid-19?

May 19, 2020 :: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Moderated by SACPA administrator

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected most Canadian business sectors, including farmers. Massive financial help from governments, both federal and provincial, have been rolled out for many individuals and businesses since early April. Specific help for the food and farming sector was announced only recently with a small aid package that arguably doesn’t prioritize the importance of help to the food supply chains.

Because of worker safety issues and COVID-19 outbreaks among workers, shutdowns and slowdowns at several beef, hog and chicken processing plants have created huge backlogs. When animals are ready to be shipped, they need to go or else producer costs go up and quality of the products are negatively affected. Likewise, other farm products used widely in the now shut restaurant industry, are severely compromised.

The speaker will argue that agricultural production, marketing and farm worker issues generally flies below the radar of governments, particularly federally. He will further contend that from a food-security perspective, the stakes for Canada are very high. Canada typically loses from 5 to 7 per cent of its farms every year. COVID-19 could double that loss this year if substantial financial aid is not forthcoming soon.

Speaker: Dr. Sylvain Charlebois

Dr. Charlebois conducts research in the broad area of food distribution, security and safety. He has written four books and many peer-reviewed and scientific articles—over 500 during his career. His research has been featured in newspapers that include The Economist, New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Globe & Mail, National Post and Toronto Star.

Date and time: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 11 am MT

YouTube Live link:

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