Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tangible benefits

The Cons' attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board for purely ideological reasons has surfaced as a major issue over the past couple of months. But for those wondering just how what effect the Canadian Wheat Board actually has on farmers, a new study has the answer:
An analysis of the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing of barley says the current system nets farmers $60 million more annually than the alternative.

The report, completed for the wheat board by a team of researchers, including the University of Saskatchewan's Richard Gray, looked at the world trade from 1995 to 2004 for malt and feed barley. It shows consistent benefits for producers under the current single-desk system...

The study, which provides an overview of world barley trade from 1995 though 2004 for malting and feed barley with forecast sales under a multiple-seller system, indicates there would have been a $59-million annual loss in barley producer revenues if a multiple-seller structure had been in place through that time...

An open system would cause the annual average price of barley to decline, Gray said. The study showed that between 1995 and 2004, there would have been a $35.25 per tonne annual average price difference for six-row malting barley and a $40.29 per tonne annual average price difference for two-row between what the wheat board received and what a multiple-seller structure could have earned in that time.
With barley producers soon to vote in their own plebiscite on whether or not to maintain the Board's single-desk status, it's striking to see just how much more value it adds - and just how much more trouble producers would likely face without the benefits of the Board. And that should make rural Canada all the more suspicious of a government which seems eager to demolish those benefits for no reason other than their own ideological whims.

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