February 18, 2011
CWB Kills Wheat Acreage
Single desk prairie provinces lose wheat acreage while open market Ontario gains.
Is the Canadian Wheat Board Monopoly behind Canada’s Decline as a Wheat Super Power?
Last fall the Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s share of the global wheat market declined to fifteen per cent from twenty-three since 1995. Wheat production largely occurs in the Prairie Provinces, where farmers must sell wheat through the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB’s) single desk marketing approach. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers attribute the decline in wheat production to the CWB.
While Prairie Provinces have reduced their wheat acreage to plant crops outside the purview of the CWB, Ontario farmers have consistently taken advantage of the West’s regression by planting more and more wheat despite having far fewer acres available.
Although the case against the CWB here is not conclusive, it is very strong. Over thirty years, farmers in the best wheat growing areas (which also happen to be subject to the CWB monopoly) have reduced their acreage while Ontario farmers have increased theirs.
To the extent that the reduction in wheat acreage is influenced by the CWB, these trends are damning evidence. If the purpose of the Canadian Wheat Board is to promote the production and marketing of wheat, these figures suggest that the organization is achieving the opposite on the production side.
Source: Agriculture Canada (Market Analysis Group)
direct the Centre’s Saskatchewan office from 2007 to 2011. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering and Philosophy from the University of Auckland, where he also tutored Economics. In four years working for the Frontier Centre, David carried out extensive media work, presenting policy analysis through local and national television, newspapers, and radio. His policy columns have been published in newspapers in every province as well as the Globe and Mail and the National Post. David has produced policy research papers on telecommunications privatization, education, environmental policy, fiscal policy, poverty, and taxi deregulation. However, his major project with the Frontier Centre is the annual Local Government Performance Index (LGPI). The inaugural LGPI was released in November 2007 and comes at a time when municipal accounting standards in Canada must improve if the municipal government sector is to reach its potential as an economic growth engine for Canada. David is now a policy advisor in Wellington, New Zealand.