FREDERICTON (GNB) – Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Margaret Johnson met virtually with her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts yesterday to discuss several key areas of interest for Canada’s agriculture sector, as a lead-up to their annual conference in September in Guelph, Ont.

The topics discussed included the next agricultural policy framework to replace the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which expires on March 31, 2023; prevention of and preparedness for the threat posed by African swine fever; potential long-term improvements to the suite of business risk management programs; and setting the stage for a strong and sustainable future.

“I’m looking forward to meeting with my colleagues again in September to discuss these and other issues important to New Brunswick farmers,” said Johnson. “It’s always good to hear what is happening in other provinces and territories and explore ways to work together for the benefit of the agriculture sector.”

The ministers also expressed their concern for farmers and workers dealing with the current heat waves, wildfires and drought conditions in western Canada and other regions of the country. They reiterated the importance of a strong business risk management framework to provide producers with the ability to make sound business decisions in times of economic uncertainty.

 Last November, the ministers created the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Retail Fees and called on industry to actively contribute to the development of solutions to help ensure Canada has the appropriate conditions for all supply chain partners to prosper. At yesterday’s meeting, the ministers received the findings from the working group and called on industry to lead a collaborative process to develop a broad consensus on a concrete proposal to improve transparency, predictability and respect for the principles of fair dealing.

The ministers agreed that alongside the industry-led process, the working group will continue to build on positive momentum and support industry in a constructive dialogue. They have asked for an update on progress before the end of the year. The ministers will also continue to monitor the issue of fees imposed by grocery retailers to suppliers and will work to resolve the issue.