OTTAWA — Grain Farmers of Ontario and their Quebec counterparts are among the leading agricultural groups demanding farmers be compensated for the 35% tariff paid on Russian fertilizer this season. Fertilizer and agribusiness organizations also took part in the joint message aimed at the Trudeau government, which abruptly imposed the tariff March 3 following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
No other G7 country took such action against fertilizer, the combined group — representing over 50,000 farmers — noted July 18.
They’re also calling for removal of tariffs in time for fall planting. While Canadian farmers are well-positioned to help address the global food crisis, they note that this requires a predictable supply of fertilizer to maximize crop yields.
“We need compensation for farmers negatively impacted by the tariffs, and we want a secure and reliable supply of fertilizer so we can roll up our sleeves and do our part to help the world through this crisis,” GFO Chair Brendan Byrne said.
The tariff disproportionately hit farmers in eastern Canada, where Russian-sourced nitrogen fertilizer has accounted for 85 to 90 per cent of the market — about 660,000 to 680,000 tonnes annually.
The farmers and their industry allies say they support sanctions and other measures to end the war in Ukraine, but add it shouldn’t come at the cost of jeopardizing Canadian food production.
Québec Grain Farmers Chair Christian Overbeek said the tariffs “put Canadian farmers at a disadvantage to farmers in other countries who did not have tariffs on fertilizers. We need compensation for farmers and concrete solutions for the 2023 planting season in place this summer.”
“The fall planting season is quickly approaching as well as procurement preparations for 2023,” Ontario Agri Business Association executive director Russel Hurst said. “Compensation for growers and predictability for industry will be important in the coming months as Canada’s agriculture industry steps up to do our part in this global crisis.”
Fertilizer Canada President and CEO Karen Proud reiterated the call for supply “predictability” as planning for the 2023 growing season is underway. “Now, more than ever, the world needs more Canada,” she added.
Grain Farmers of Ontario, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Québec Grain Farmers, Atlantic Grains Council, Ontario Agri Business Association, Ontario Bean Growers, Ontario Canola Growers, Fertilizer Canada, Sollio Agriculture and Sylvite Agri-Services all took part in the joint call for Ottawa to redress the situation.