No to any NAFTA concessions on grain grading, says NFU

Press Release from the National Farmers Union from Canada, members of La Via Campesina North America Region

(Saskatoon) – A United States government fact sheet summarizing the agriculture-related aspects of its recent bilateral deal with Mexico suggests Canada’s unparalleled grain grading and quality assurance system is now on the NAFTA negotiating table. The document says the United States and Mexico agreed that “grading standards and services will be non-discriminatory, including for grains and that grading will operate independently from domestic registration systems for grain and oilseed varietals.”

The US-Mexican agreement seems to be part of a divide and rule strategy designed to benefit multinational grain companies that stand to gain millions, if not billions, in additional profits if Canada’s grading system is dismantled. In a press release, the US Wheat Associates said they hope the Mexican deal would “spur negotiations with Canada” on the issue of grain grading. With Greg Doud, former President of the Commodity Markets Council, as the Americans’ Chief Agriculture Negotiator, it is hard to imagine that our grading system is not under attack.

The National Farmers Union (NFU) calls on the government of Canada to refuse any concessions on grain grading during NAFTA talks.

“Canada’s grain grading system is the key to our international competitiveness, particularly for wheat,” said Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU Trade Committee. “Our grain growing region is far from ocean ports, so a high-volume, low-price approach is a non-starter. Instead, our marketing strategy is to sell high value grain to customers who are willing to pay prices that cover expensive transportation costs. Our grading system allows us to produce and deliver the high quality grain all over the world – not only to Mexico and the USA — and our variety registration system is the foundation of our grading system.”

“US producers are not missing out on the Canadian market,” added Ian Robson, Region 5 (Manitoba) Coordinator. “There are no limits on how much US-grown wheat Canadian millers can bring in. But allowing grain companies to mix American wheat with Canadian-grown wheat destined for export would give US wheat a free ride on the seed-to-port-terminal quality control system we have developed over the past century. This would compromise – and ultimately destroy – our quality reputation abroad.”

“With or without NAFTA, there will be trade between Canada, the US and Mexico because we each have something the other countries need,” said Boehm. “But trade deals like NAFTA, the TPP, CETA, etc., are not really about trade – they’re tools the corporate sector uses to get governments to give up their ability to govern in the interests of citizens and to tie the hands of future governments. We don’t need to, and must not, give up critical economic tools that benefit Canadians for the sake of any trade agreement.”

“Canada should not legitimize the deadline dramas manufactured by a Mexican President in his final days in office after electoral defeat and the US President whose focus is on his country’s mid-term elections,” said Boehm. “Our grain quality assurance systems and supply management, institutions Canadians that have created and maintained for decades and which continue to benefit farmers, consumers and the national economy, should not be sacrificed.”

For more information:
Terry Boehm, Chair, NFU Trade Committee (306) 255-7638
Ian Robson, Chair, NFU Region 5 (Manitoba) Coordinator and Chair, NFU Grain Transportation and Marketing Committee: (204) 741-1017
Ken Larsen, NFU Region 7 (Alberta): (403) 746-5792

UNITED STATES–MEXICO TRADE FACT SHEET Strengthening North American Trade in Agriculture
NFU Newsletter article: NAFTA renegotiation provides opening for renewed US attack on Canadian wheat grading framework
NFU Backgrounder – FAQs about Canada’s Wheat Class System
NFU Fact Sheet (see pages 3-4) – What Impact has Free Trade had on Canadian Farmer?


This is also the Global Week of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements. Check out our latest videographic explaining how WTO and Free Trade Agreements have created criminal levels of inequality and agrarian distress everywhere. 


#LaViaCampesina – 5 REASONWHY LA VIA CAMPESINA THINKS WTO IS BAD FOR AGRICULTURE1. It has increased inequality and rural debt by destroying local peasant marketsThe World Trade Organisation – WTO – has created a ‘free’ trade system that gives huge agribusiness corporations – receiving massive subsidies – ‘the freedom’ to dump cheap food into economically weaker nations. This has pushed peasants to the margins, caused a crash in price, destroyed local peasant markets and has increased rural debt, all the while aiding the concentration of wealth. The result? A criminal level of inequality where 82% of world’s wealth is now in the hands of a mere 1%.2. A handful of Corporations now control the global food systemLess than 20 global corporations today control the global food chain that governs what food we buy and how we buy it. The 3 largest corporations control more than 50 % of the world’s seed market. The top 4 Corporations control 99% of livestock breeding. 10 corporations enjoy 55% of the fertilizer market. 4 traders control around 75 % of the world grain and soya market. A mere 11 Corporations control 30% of food processing. It’s all about consolidation and control now!3. Free Trade Agreements criminalise a 10,000 year old food system by patenting seeds and giving Corporations the upper handSeed is the basis of life. The WTO and other free trade agreements force, sometimes threaten, countries to sign international agreements that allow corporations to put patents on seeds. Today, this has led to peasants being treated as criminals for selecting and reusing seeds from their own harvest. Peasants feed the world, we are not criminals! Even when some Governments resist, these free trade systems allow investors to sue national governments in International Court, overriding national laws and democratic processes.4. Industrial agriculture is heating up our planetIndustrial Agriculture and related land use contributes to 30% of the Green House Gas emissions. It has led to extreme weather fluctuations, affecting agriculture and peasants the most.5. WTO and Free Trade Agreements Kills PeasantsOn the 10th of September 2003 in Cancun, Mexico, Lee Kyung Hae, the Korean peasant took his own life outside the WTO meeting venue to expose the destruction WTO has caused in rural areas. He was a brilliant farmer who turned a barren land into a thriving farm. Yet he lost everything after Korea started importing cheap rice and cows. Lee is not the only one. In India alone, over 300,000 peasants took their lives in the last 20 years, unable to bear their mounting debt. It is now a worldwide phenomenon.In Lee’s memory we mark 10th of September as the Global Day of Action Against WTO and Free Trade Agreements.“We are all Lee. WTO kills Peasants everywhere.”Keep Agriculture out of Free Trade negotiations!We want Food Sovereignty not Free Trade!For more

Publiée par La Via Campesina sur Dimanche 9 septembre 2018



1. l’OMC augmente les inégalités et la dette rurale en détruisant les marchés paysans locauxL'Organisation mondiale du commerce -OMC- a créé un système de commerce « libre » qui donne aux entreprises agro-industrielles – qui reçoivent d’énormes subventions – « la liberté » d’écouler des aliments bon marché vers des pays plus faibles économiquement. Cela a entrainé la marginalisation des paysans, un effondrement des prix, la destruction des marchés paysans locaux et une augmentation de la dette rurale, tout en favorisant la concentration de la richesse. Le résultat ? Un niveau d’inégalité criminel où 82% de la richesse mondiale est maintenant entre les mains de seulement 1% de la population.2. Une poignée d’entreprises contrôle le système alimentaire mondialMoins de vingt entreprises contrôlent aujourd’hui la chaîne alimentaire mondiale qui régit les aliments que nous achetons et la façon dont nous les achetons. Les trois plus grandes contrôlent plus de 50% du marché mondial des semences. Les quatre principales contrôlent 99% de l’élevage. Dix bénéficient de 55% du marché des engrais. Quatre traders contrôlent environ 75% du marché mondial des céréales et du soja. Seulement onze entreprises contrôlent 30% de la transformation des aliments. Tout est question de consolidation et de contrôle !3. Les accords de libre-échange criminalisent un système alimentaire vieux de 10.000 ans en brevetant les semences et en avantageant les entreprisesLes semences sont la base de la vie. L'OMC et d'autres accords de libre-échange obligent, et menacent parfois, les pays à signer les traités autorisant les entreprises à breveter les semences. En conséquence, aujourd'hui, les paysans sont traités comme des criminels lorsqu’ils sélectionnent et réutilisent les semences de leur propre récolte. Nous paysans nourrissons le monde, nous ne sommes pas des criminels ! Même lorsque certains gouvernements résistent, ces systèmes de libre-échange permettent aux investisseurs d’intenter des poursuites contre les gouvernements auprès du Tribunal international, outrepassant les lois nationales et les processus démocratiques ! 4. L’agriculture industrielle réchauffe notre planèteL'agriculture industrielle et l'utilisation connexe des terres contribuent pour 30% aux émissions de gaz à effet de serre, entraînant des fluctuations climatiques extrêmes et affectant surtout l'agriculture et les paysans.5. L’OMC et les traités de libre-échange tuent les paysannes et les paysans.Le 10 septembre 2003 à Cancun, au Mexique, Lee Kyung Hae, paysan coréen, s’est suicidé devant le lieu de réunion de l'OMC pour dénoncer les destructions causées par l’OMC dans les zones rurales. C’était un paysan brillant qui a transformé une terre stérile en ferme prospère. Pourtant, lorsque la Corée a importé du riz et des vaches bon marché, il a tout perdu. Lee n'est pas le seul. En Inde, plus de 300 000 paysans se sont suicidés au cours des 20 dernières années, incapables de supporter le poids de leur dette. C’est devenu un phénomène mondial.En mémoire de Lee, nous marquons le 10 septembre comme la Journée internationale d’action contre l’OMC et les traités de libre-échange.“Tous, nous sommes comme Lee. Partout, l’OMC tue les paysannes et les paysans.”Gardons l’agriculture hors des négociations de libre-échange ! Nous voulons la souveraineté alimentaire, pas le libre-échange !Pour plus d’éAlimentaire

Publiée par La Via Campesina sur Dimanche 9 septembre 2018

5 Razones por las que La Vía Campesina considera que la OMC es perjudicial para la Agricultura

#LaViaCampesina #OMCmata #NuevoVideoLVC – 5 Razones por las que La Vía Campesina considera que la OMC y los Tratados de Libre Comercio son perjudiciales para la Agricultura – Video realizado en el marco del 10 de Septiembre – Día Interncional de Lucha contra la OMC y los Trados de Libre Comercio. #SoberaníaAlimentariaYA #PeasantsRightsNow

Publiée par La Via Campesina sur Mardi 11 septembre 2018