Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson has encouraged other ministers of agriculture across Canada to collaborate on strategies to guard against African swine fever and to continue finalizing an industry-led grocery code of conduct at a meeting with federal, provincial and territorial counterparts.
"Consumers in Manitoba and across the country need more transparency and predictability in retail food prices and an assurance of fair dealing and practices in Canada's food supply chain," said Johnson. "As well, it is crucial that provinces and territories remain committed to working together with Ottawa to prevent African swine fever from entering the country and to be prepared with measures to protect producers if it does."
These issues and other matters were discussed on Friday during the virtual meeting of agriculture and agri-food ministers that included progress updates from governments on initiatives in several areas of interest, noted Johnson.
The ministers reaffirmed a commitment to bolster government and agricultural sector readiness to keep ASF out of Canada and to respond swiftly and effectively if an outbreak occurs.
Johnson also joined counterparts in recognizing progress made toward Canada's Grocery Code of Conduct and emphasized the Manitoba government's support for work done to date by the industry toward the establishment of the code, which would follow extensive consultation.
Other topics discussed included federal development of a national agricultural labor strategy and progress in the federal, provincial and territorial governments' preparations for the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which will begin April 1 and continue for five years to assist the sector by improving competitiveness and sustainability of farmers, food processors and others.
Meetings of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of agriculture are held as needed to ensure continuing collaboration and to help prepare for annual meetings. The next annual meeting of agriculture ministers will be held in July in Fredericton.