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How do we cement Canada’s food security during a pandemic?

Dairy Farmers of Canada says,

“By ensuring farmers produce only enough to meet the needs of Canadians, supply management helps the sector reduce waste and improve sustainability, prevent wild fluctuations in the farm-gate price of milk and enhances Canada’s food sovereignty and security.”

Dairy farmers believe that all individuals and families should have food security – reliable access to affordable, nutritious food, so that they can pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. According to studies by Ryerson University, in Canada, 12% of households are food insecure and struggle to get adequate nutrition.

Canadian Dairy is just that, made in Canada. There are more than 10,000 dairy farms and 500 dairy processors. A strong, safe and sustainable dairy sector means we are reliant on ourselves to meet our food requirements. This is achieved through the three pillars of supply management:

1. Producer Pricing

2. Production Discipline

3. Imports Management

Supply management is a system where farmers, milk marketing boards, processors and the CDC (Canadian Dairy Commission) come together and formulate how much milk is needed to meet the domestic demand.  This is how Canadian dairy farmers can maintain a strong milk supply at an affordable cost.

There are many benefits of supply management, for consumers, farmers, dairy processors and even the government.

“Consumers get a consistent supply of high-quality, responsibly produced products and don’t have to worry about wild fluctuations in price. 

Farmers get a stable and fair return for the milk they produce. This stability allows them to reinvest in their farms, which drives economic activity in communities all across Canada. 

Dairy Processors get a stable and predictable supply of high-quality Canadian milk produced according to some of the world’s most stringent standards. 

Governments benefit from the economic activity generated by the industry and taxation, while the administration of the system is not costly.” 

Our dairy sector generates economic activity all across Canada with:

– 178,000+ full-time equivalent jobs

– $16 billion per year to Canada’s GDP

– $2.9 billion per year in tax revenues

The pandemic has served as a harsh reminder that countries have the duty to make sure their residents have nourishing, accessible food to depend on. 

Food Security is the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,” says the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

When COVID-19 hit our country, the dairy industry had to adapt to the massive consumer demand generated by panic-buying, and then the lack of need when restaurants and other food-related companies closed their doors.  It’s clear the pandemic caused huge disruptions to the dairy industry from farm to truck to destination.

Because of the effectiveness of teamwork and communication due to the supply management framework, dairy farmers and processors had the ability to adjust quickly in unprecedented times. 

Dairy Central notes, “as the country reopens, more fluctuations may occur. The dairy industry will continue to meet changing demands as efficiently as possible.”

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