Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie
John Wiley and Sons Inc.
The impact of COVID‐19 on the grains and oilseeds sector
DOI 10.1111/cjag.12239
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While downstream distribution and demand is likely to be hampered by the labour and income effects of COVID‐19, Canada is expected to produce over 88 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds in 2020. Canadians have valid concerns about delays related to their changing needs as millions move their purchases from food services to retail groceries, but they should not worry about our overall supply of calories. Despite some shortages, the supply chains for flour and cooking oil are not likely to be blocked for an extended period. Learning from the coordinated needs of the BSE crisis in the beef sector, the federal government developed Value Chain Roundtables in 2003, including one for grains. These roundtables bring together government and industry to tackle the issues that face each sector's major needs, including food safety, transportation infrastructure, and market access. A working group made up of various roundtable members was set up specifically to deal with COVID‐19‐related supply chain challenges. This gives both industry and government a venue to attack any choke point or breakdown within our agri‐food supply chains – the exact response we need at this time. A pre‐established forum for discussion of critical issues at these roundtables, assuming the right players are active and present, cannot hurt, but it would useful for future planners and researchers if the federal government could clarify any positive impact they have.

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