first_imgA Maritime delegation attending the World Trade Organization talks is meeting daily to exchange information and assess the international negotiations on agricultural issues. The delegation, including Nova Scotia Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Chris d’Entremont, New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, David Alward and, Prince Edward Island Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Kevin MacAdam are in Hong Kong to bring attention to the regional agricultural issues as Canada pursues new rules for international trade. “We are taking full advantage of the frequent briefing opportunities set up for the provinces and industry leaders,” said Mr. d’Entremont. “We also continue to meet with federal ministers Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Jim Peterson, Minister of International Trade, who are leading the Canadian negotiations.” One perspective shared by members of the Maritime delegation is Canada’s need to be more forceful in promoting the attributes needed for the Canadian supply management systems. “The major proposals on the negotiation table involve minimal sacrifices on the part of the sponsoring countries and few or no gains for Canadian agriculture overall. In fact, the proposals entail highly detrimental ramifications for the supply management sectors,” said Mr. d’Entremont. The role of supply management at the regional level is almost twice that of the overall national level. The industry is concerned an agreement might be reached to change market access and this would be devastating for agriculture and related businesses in the Maritimes. The supply management sector in Nova Scotia includes farms producing dairy, poultry and eggs. Dairy farming is Nova Scotia’s largest sector, with 300 farms, and is the largest agricultural processing industry, employing more than 1,000 workers. There are more than 100 poultry farms in Nova Scotia employing 1,000 workers in Kings County alone. The province is also home to 28 egg- and pullet-raising farms and several egg grading stations. Industry members attending the conference are Barron Blois, former national president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada; David Fuller, national president of the Chicken Farmers of Canada; Willy Versteeg, Nova Scotia director with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Mark Davies, vice-chairman of the Nova Scotia Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board.last_img