GUELPH — Two days after Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland diverted millions in fertilizer tariff dollars to Ukraine — apparently slamming the door on a refund for the domestic ag sector — the Grain Farmers of Ontario released a new report highlighting the negative impact of the ongoing 35% charge, again making the case for its removal.
Farmers Need Fertilizer also outlines the complexity of global fertilizer supply, demand, and price — and explores the investments required to address Canadian fertilizer supply in the longer-term.
The 72-page report — written by Josh Linville, vice president of the fertilizer division at financial services network giant StoneX — “shows that the best short-term solution for food security is for the Canadian government to remove the burden of tariffs on imported fertilizer,” GFO Chair Brendan Byrne said.
“The report also explores the magnitude of the investment required to implement other solutions to address Canada’s fertilizer supply.”
None other than United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has called on governments around the world to “remove barriers to “avert a global food crisis and ensure food security,” Byrne’s organization also points out.
The report cites the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) position that commercial fertilizer is directly responsible for approximately 60 % of total world food production — and without commercial fertilizers, global food security would become considerably harder to attain for the planet’s growing population.
For months, Canadian farm groups have been lobbying for an end to Canada’s tariff on Russian-sourced fertilizer, which the Trudeau government imposed last March in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.
GFO has also served as a key voice in a group of six Eastern Canadian ag organizations demanding a return of tariff money paid out by producers on their fertilizer bill. Fertilizer costs were already soaring before Ottawa imposed the levy.
Canada is the only G7 country insisting that its farmers pay a tariff on fertilizer imported from Russia.
The tariff on Russian goods has generated $115 million, much of it from fertilizer, according to media reports. Freeland has announced the money will go into repairing Kyiv’s electricity grid from the damage incurred by Russian airstrikes.