Farmers who support the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) monopoly on wheat and barley sales will continue to hold a narrow majority on the agency’s board of directors, election results showed at the weekend.
Pro-monopoly candidates won in four out of five districts, leaving a total of eight farmers on the 15-member board who support the agency’s monopoly on sales of wheat and barley from the Canadian Prairies to millers, maltsters and export markets. "I think it’s time for the government to pause and have a result at what these results really mean," said Ken Ritter, CWB chairman.
End of monopoly
Canada’s minority Conservative government has promised to end the monopoly of the CWB, one of the world’s largest grain marketers, which had revenues of C$3.7 billion ($3.2 billion) in the year ended July 31, 2005. In recent months, CWB leaders and Agriculture Minister Chuck Strahl have engaged in a public and increasingly bitter fight about the monopoly.
Strahl’s government, elected in January, wants to give farmers the freedom to sell their grain to whatever buyer they choose, while CWB supporters point to studies showing the agency gives them clout and premiums in an industry dominated by multinationals.
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