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Canada's pig farmers say government support is falling short during the coronavirus crisis

The Chair of the Canadian Pork Council says the federal government’s commitment to help the agriculture sector survive the impact of COVID-19 falls far short of what is needed.

9 May 2020, at 10:05am

Yesterday the federal government committed approximately 252 million dollars to support farmers, food businesses and food processors.

Canadian Pork Council Chair Rick Bergmann told reporters participating in a joint Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Canadian Pork Council news conference, the commitment falls far short of what's needed to protect a sector that will play a critical in role in Canada’s economic recovery, post COVID-19.

"The food sector is critical for the Canadian families' well being and an important employer, an important industry that will be instrumental in helping Canada get through the pandemic restart of the economy," says Bergmann, speaking to Farmscape.

"We really believe that we're part of the solution because it all starts on the farm.

"When it comes to jobs and so on, all of agriculture and I'm talking now specifically of pork production, there's a significant amount of spin off on jobs and the economy benefits.

"23 billion dollars in gross domestic product, so without emergency aid for our pork producers, the family farms will continue to be threatened in a very severe way.

"The risk to the food supply and disruption continues to increase and, at a minimum, food insecurity will increases as supplies tighten and food gets more expensive.

"We believe that this is not an option. We can do better. We're a civilised country and so we look forward to more solutions.

"But, right now, the solutions given to us would resemble a cup of water to look after a house that's burning down."

Bergmann acknowledges any support from the federal government to help the food sector weather the storm brought on by COVID-19 is welcomed but, given the very limited support outlined by the federal government, Canadian pork producers and their families remain at risk.