Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback said that the Canadian Wheat Boards needs a more global range than it's had in the past.
© Herald file photo
Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback.
The feds’ rejection of a Canadian farmer-led bid to take over the Canadian Wheat Board left Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin asking if Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has “lost his freaking mind.”
Taking a more measured approach, Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback defended his government’s decision, noting that the Canadian Wheat Board’s scope has expanded significantly in recent years, and should be given the capacity for further expansion.
“The CWB, now, isn’t just handling wheat and barely,” he explained. “They have the ability to handle a variety of grains and even pulses and canola if they so choose, so they need to make sure they have a partner that can help them with the expertise in those markets.”
The marketing of Canadian agricultural products is an increasingly global effort, Hoback said, providing unique insight as chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade.
“It’s not the 1940s or the 1950s, here,” he said. “They need the global range and the expertise … (Farmers) need the ability to get their product moved through a logistics chain that’ll get it to the end user and the customer.”
The elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly continues to prove itself the right decision, Hoback said, noting that wheat prices continue to jump.
“Not only that, but because (farmers) can sell their wheat when they so choose, it allows them to hold back canola and pulses and take advantage of market highs in those areas as well.”
A good example of increased global market penetration came up during a visit to Chile about six weeks ago, Hoback said.
“Chile was never a big buyer of Canadian wheat, and now the numbers are going up and up and up,” he said. “The reality is, they’ve been able to find a partner in Canada who’s been able to source wheat for them.”
The Canadian Wheat Board deemed Chile too small a customer so refused to consider their orders, Hoback said.
With Chile’s Canadian wheat imports ever on the increase, Canadian farmers are reaping the benefits.
Hoback said that the “dynamic marketplace with lots of competition” has been driving up prices, resulting in more money for Canadian farmers.