Crucial issues for the future of the dairy industry

Ingredients Strategy

2015 was marked by the coming together of producers and processors. In fact, the holding of a National Negotiation Table was formally agreed upon between both parties to create a new market environment for the Canadian dairy industry.

On the producers’ side, all 10 provinces were represented by their Chairs and General Managers together with the DFC President and Executive Director. The processors were represented by the Dairy Processors Association of Canada and their four provincial organizations as well as delegates from small, medium and large processors. Negotiations were launched in August 2015 and were facilitated by a professional mediator. During the talks, the producers' objectives were focussed on protecting producer revenues, adding value to the structural surplus, obtaining major investments in dairy processing capacities across the regions and ensuring the longevity of a strong and stable supply management system. During the negotiation process, both producers and processors remained committed to achieving a new market environment for the Canadian dairy industry. Unfortunately, results from these talks were not yet available at publication time.

The InternationalFront

DFC is involved at the international level in a number of forums dealing with policy, nutrition, marketing, communications and issue management, and many other matters pertaining to the dairy industry.

In particular, DFC is an active member of the International Dairy Federation, the World Farmers’ Organization, the Global Dairy Platform and the International Farm Comparison Network (IFCN). DFC also works with various like-minded farmers’ organizations in promoting the need for farmers to have the appropriate tools to operate in an often volatile global market. At a time when the dairy market is experiencing a significant downturn worldwide, DFC is working hard to convey the merits of our Canadian system at various international gatherings, including WTO public forums and Ministerial Conferences. For example, a DFC Vice-President acted as a panellist during the “Agriculture and Trade After 20 Years of WTO” workshop that took place within the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Public Forum framework in early October.

In June, DFC attended the IFCN conference in Ghent, Belgium, where participants from around the world gathered to talk about the dairy sector, compare data and discuss costs of production, global dairy crisis management and the worldwide dairy outlook. The research and information gathered during the conference showed that the vast majority of countries cannot turn a profit from exporting dairy products, since the world dairy market price is currently below the cost of production. For DFC, these conferences are another opportunity to demonstrate to the world that supply management works—especially at a time when the global dairy market is slumping as badly as it has been.