CWB urged to trial free market for wheat and barley

by Emily Wilson
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OTTAWA, CANADA — The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food has recommended that the Canadian Wheat

Board authorize, on a trial basis, the free market sale of wheat and barley. The recommendation was one of 33 contained within the standing committee’s report titled "The Future Role of the Government in Agriculture."

The report provides guidance to Parliament on developing future farm, food and agriculture policy.

The C.W.B.’s board of directors expressed "shock and dismay at the suggestion." Ken Ritter, chairman of the C.W.B. board, said, "Frankly, we are surprised the committee included this recommendation in its report. Of all of the recommendations, none is so far-reaching in its consequences as this one, which would strip all marketing power from Prairie farmers and hand it to grain merchants. The gains Prairie farmers have made through marketing their high-quality products to customers around the world would evaporate, and the profits would be made by transnational grain corporations.

"The C.W.B. is controlled by farmers now. Farmers, not the standing committee, have the right to determine the C.W.B.’s future direction and mandate."