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Ontario farmers raise concerns about global food supply

Russia-Ukraine war could massively disrupt the world’s food supply chain

GUELPH, ON [March 18, 2022] — The Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to jeopardize the global food supply chain, a risk that could impact the 2022 crop season, drive up prices in the short term and lead to widespread famine in at-risk regions by next year, warn Ontario farmers.

Today, the Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and the Ontario Agri Business Association held a briefing for provincial and federal government officials to outline the risks and challenges facing farmers for the planting of the coming season, and the impact the Russia-Ukraine War could have on Ontario’s food supply. The groups also discussed the impact of a rail strike in addition to the challenges.

Farmers in Ukraine and Russia produce about a quarter of the world’s calories, with key regions in North Africa and the Middle East dependent on their production. But this supply chain has been significantly jeopardized by the tragic geopolitical events unfolding in Ukraine. This is forecast to result in a spike in food prices between eight and 22 percent over the coming months, and many agriculture economists are predicting famine in several African countries within the next 18 months.

How policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders in the agriculture value chain respond to this crisis over the next few weeks is critical, and will determine how much food will be available in Ontario, Canada and around the world.

It is vitally important that Ontario find ways to maximize its production of livestock feed and grain in the 2022 growing season, which will also require strategies to manage the shortfall in fertilizer that is expected to materialize because of sanctions against Russia.

QUOTES

“The Grain Farmers of Ontario stand with the people of Ukraine and the efforts Canada and its partners are making to restore peace in the region. We hosted this event today to share with policymakers the role Ontario’s grain production can make to help address and alleviate the food supply concerns that are unfolding around the world. Farmers in Ontario take seriously their duty to produce food, and we wanted to raise the issues we face completing that task.”

— Brendan Byrne, Chair, GFO Board of Directors

“The war in Ukraine is tragic, and OFA is united with our brethren Ukrainian farmers who have had their livelihoods ripped apart and lives put at risk. Ontario is Canada’s most productive region, and Ontario farmers are eager to do what is required to produce the food people rely on us to grow. But in light of these geopolitical matters, compounded by last year’s drought in Western Canada and South America, we can’t do it alone.”

— Peggy Brekveld, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

“The tragic consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are creating great concern and uncertainty heading into this year’s planting season. Suppliers are facing several potential obstacles that could prove to be very disruptive for farmers. Canada’s food system has already endured supply chain challenges due to the pandemic, and now we must prepare and adjust for global fertilizer supply shortages as well a potential CP Rail labour disruption, just weeks before planting. The situation is dire and needs immediate attention.”

— Russel Hurst, Executive Director, Ontario Agri-Business Association

GFO, OFA and OABA have been meeting with government representatives in Canada as well as in the Province, one-on-one over the last few weeks to raise the issues facing the Spring Planting to find ways to mitigate the risks of input supplies arriving on-time as well as price shocks to key inputs.


ABOUT GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIO
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $4.1 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $18 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 75,000 jobs in the province.
For more information, please visit gfo.ca.

ABOUT THE ONTARIO FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURE
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.
For more information, visit ofa.on.ca.

ABOUT THE ONTARIO AGRI BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
The Ontario Agri Business Association (OABA) is a voluntary, not-for-profit trade association that represents the interests of over 500 members who operate country and terminal grain elevators, feed manufacturing facilities, crop input supply and affiliated businesses throughout the province of Ontario. OABA members generate in excess of $15.2 billion in annual sales and employ over 20,000 individuals in full and part time/seasonal jobs within the agri-food industry.

For more information, please visit oaba.on.ca.

For more information, please call:

Victoria Berry | Manager, Communications
Grain Farmers of Ontario
679 Southgate Drive Guelph, Ontario N1G 4S2
T 226-820-6641 | vberry@gfo.ca

Cathy Lennon | General Manager
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
200 Hanlon Creek Blvd, Guelph, Ontario
T 519 902 7700 | cathy.lennon@ofa.on.ca

Russell Hurst | Executive Director
Ontario Agri-Business Association
160 Research Ln Suite 104, Guelph, ON N1G 5B2
T (519) 822-3004 cathy.lennon@ofa.on.ca

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