A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
Personal accounts

Supply management in Canada

By Serge Lefebvre,
2e vice-président de la Fédération des producteurs d’œufs
de consommation du Québec

To confront the adverse effects of the growing instability of agricultural markets on local crops, Canada has had its own regulatory mechanism based on the principal of supply management for more than thirty years. During the last Dakar Agricole Forum , Serge Lefebvre, Secretary-General of Quebec’s Agricultural Producers Union, underlined the function and benefits of this system during a speech that we have published below. The system is scheduled to be reformed in 2013 and in early June, the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper reiterated his support for such a system.

momagri Editorial Board

For those who do not know, supply management in Canada contains unique characteristics. It is a regulatory mechanism whereby Canadian dairy, poultry and egg producers adjust their production to meet the needs of the domestic market. Supply management was initially introduced more than 30 years ago to stabilize the incomes of agricultural producers and end the massive injection of government funds required to support them. This system still makes sense today. Our supply management mechanisms, which are not at all intended for export, are based on three pillars:

    1. Production Management: producers produce below quota to meet the needs of the domestic market. In the event of surplus and via a system of self-regulation, they consent to bear the costs.

    2. Import controls: the Canadian government agrees to limit the entry of imported produce so that the needs of its domestic market are met primarily by Canadian producers.

    3. A pricing policy that covers production costs: through legislation, the Canadian government has devised a mechanism whereby producers receive a price that covers production costs. The government pays no income support grants.

It must be recognized that supply management is beneficial for the whole of Canadian society. Consumers have access to high quality produce in sufficient quantities and at reasonable prices. Producers receive payment based on production costs. Food processors have more stable supplies and obtain enviable financial results. The state and taxpayers, for their part, do not have to fund income support programs. In addition, supply management promotes an agriculture that is resource and people friendly, efficient and on a human scale right across the Canadian territory.

According to several observers, this mechanism is consistent with the principles of sustainable development as adopted in the Brundtland report and explained at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. Independent supply management by producers meets current requirements without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their requirements. This system of supply management falls within the three elements of sustainable development, namely: economic, ecological and social. It is therefore a tool for promoting sustainable development, the specific characteristics of agriculture and basic human rights.

It goes without saying that global governance for food systems would do well to enable farmers all over the world to play a pivotal role. If they wish, countries should be able to impose import tariffs on certain agricultural produce in order to provide opportunities for those local agricultural activities considered important, to be able to develop properly, free from trade wars and the unfair international business practices that are sometimes practiced by certain exporting countries. The Canadian supply management model is certainly an inspiration.

It is with this objective that the Agricultural Producers Union via UPA International Development, supports rural farmers’ organizations in Africa and elsewhere to develop collective mechanisms that enable farmers to market their produce and play an active role on local markets.

1 Please see Momagri article of 09-05-11 : http://www.momagri.org/UK/points-of-view/Summary-of-Workshops-Dakar-Agricole-_902.html
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Paris, 20 June 2019