Katie Ward, president of the National Farmers Union, said the power of large corporations involved in agriculture needs to be curbed when she testified before the House of Commons standing committee on agriculture.
She also challenged the current agriculture policy that promotes increased exports.
“Going forward, agriculture policy should be designed to build in safety valves and surge capacity so that disruptions are manageable challenges instead of full scale crises,” Ward said.
“The acute supply chain issues we face now have roots going back decades, stemming from multinational conglomerates’ use of global sourcing and ‘just-in-time’ delivery to minimize their costs.”
She singled out the fertilizer industry where companies are blaming supply chain issues for their exorbitant prices yet still accumulating huge windfall profits, the NFU said in a news release, adding that it wants the committee to launch an investigation.
“Farm families are subsidizing the system with their off farm jobs. For rural people, the supply chain is a one-way street, where the results of their work and the value of their crops and livestock disappear into the bank accounts of distant multinational companies,” Ward said.
“It is not surprising that so many feel left behind. Increasing economic inequality leads to social instability and disempowerment,” she said.
“Across the food system — from beef to vegetables — concentration of infrastructure ownership means the packers, processors and retailers benefit most,” the NFU said.