In this file:


·         Market outlook appears promising for pork and beef

·         Trade issues frustrating but Canada well positioned



Market outlook appears promising for pork and beef


By Barb Glen, The Western Producer (Canada)

June 25, 2020


The outlook is cautiously optimistic for Canadian beef and pork trade, say industry experts, so long as the worst effects from the pandemic are over.


Fawn Jackson of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Phil Boyd of Turkey Farmers of Canada and livestock and meat market analyst Kevin Grier each said demand for beef, turkey and pork was strong in the first part of 2020 and further gains could come if livestock sectors successfully navigate their way through COVID-19.


But there are plenty of variables, they added.


“Last year our (beef) trade was up around 17 percent in value over 2018 and we were hoping to see that trajectory continue,” said Jackson, the CCA’s director of government and international relations, during a webinar organized by the Canadian Animal Health Institute.


“We know that international demand is going to continue for Canadian beef but it’s about how do we get those animals processed and if there is a second wave, how do we survive that?”


Jackson said she thinks the industry has come through the most difficult part of pandemic fallout by recognizing the issues and implementing solutions.


Grier also sounded positive notes for the pork sector, among them the latest Statistics Canada figures on per capita consumption.


“It showed once again pork demand in Canada is very strong. There’s a lot of positive news with regard to red meat demand in Canada and 2019 was a big positive for pork. The other positives are that in nine of the last 10 years, the hog sector has seen positive margins.”


Grier noted a number of pork processors recently expanded their operations due to good profit margins in that sector and “the entire industry went into 2020 looking very optimistically with regard to export prospects as well.”


Then came COVID-19, which drastically reduced pork demand in China and then caused processing plant disruptions in the United States. Disruptions in food service demand played a further role.


“At this point it’s bad in Canada but not nearly as bad as in the United States,” said Grier, where about three million finished hogs are in the system awaiting processing.


Supply chain disruptions also damaged the supply chain for supply-managed Canadian industries, said Boyd, executive director of the TFC. Disruptions in restaurant trade and full-service deli and retail outlets reduced demand.


Boyd said the TFC has implemented a seven percent reduction in volume for the coming year to ease pressure and other supply-managed commodities are taking similar steps.


For hogs and cattle, much will depend on slaughter plants’ ability to improve and maintain worker safety so they can regain previous production levels...





Trade issues frustrating but Canada well positioned


By D'Arce McMillan, The Western Producer (Canada) 

June 25, 2020


It is irritating when a trade partner puts up a barrier we think is unjust, blocking what was a lucrative market.


And we get frustrated with our government’s inability to get the trade partner to change their minds.


Current examples are China’s restrictions on Canada’s canola, India’s restrictions regarding fumigation of pulse crops, Italy’s country-of-origin labelling on durum.


With the World Trade Organization at its weakest point in recent memory, the simmering trade war between China and United States, the increased use of non-tariff trade barriers, and a rising tide around the world of nationalism, we naturally begin to worry that Canada’s position as a leading exporter of agricultural products is jeopardized .


Agriculture Canada has set a goal of increasing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025 from $66 billion in 2018.


Is that possible if the rules-based liberal trade order built up following the Second World War fades away and differences are instead settled in favour of the most mighty rather than who is in the right?


We are right to be concerned and to look for policy adjustments and new strategies.


But we need not despair. Canada is one of a fairly small number of countries that can produce far more food than its residents can consume. It has undeniable strengths in its huge land resource, skilled labour force, access to the most advanced technology in inputs and machinery and to financing. It has standards and safeguards to ensure we produce food of quality and safety among the best in the world.


Canada also is a member of many bilateral and regional trade agreements that supply the rules-based relationships on a smaller scale that are waning on the multilateral, global front.


All these strengths give Canadian producers a competitive advantage to capture their share of the world’s growing food demand.


And as the Producer’s Ed White noted in a column in mid-May, even adversaries will loosen their buying restrictions when they really need food and you are one of the few who can supply what they need.


For example, although China last year blocked imports of Canadian meat for several months, it removed those restrictions when its demand for pork could not be met domestically because African swine fever decimated its hog herd.


Its imports of Canadian pork in the first four months of this year stand at $615 million, more than in all of 2019 or 2018.


But ultimately, Canada’s agri-food trade success depends on...