Farmers groups have called on the federal government to immediately end tariffs placed on fertilizers imported from Russia and Belarus as a result of the war in Ukraine.
In a press release on Thursday, Ontario Bean Growers executive director Ryan Koeslag said that while it welcomed the fact that Ottawa has set aside the $34 million acquired via the measures, it should immediately scrap the tariffs citing the fact that Canada was the only G7 nation to impose such sanctions.
“While this is good news, it does not address that the tariff is still in place,” said Koeslag. “Canada is the only G7 nation that is penalizing its own farmers with this tariff, the United States has never imposed a tariff on fertilizer from Russia or Belarus.”
Other farmer groups, including the Atlantic Grains Council, the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, the Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Grain Growers of Quebec,d also joined in on the effort.
Farmers also asked that the federal government reimburse the agriculture sector for the losses it accrued due to the retaliatory tariffs.
“Direct compensation for the costs Canadian farmers have incurred already due to this unfair fertilizer tariff, is the right thing to do,” said Koelsag.
“In a time of global uncertainty, reimbursing Canadian farmers for the tariff will balance some of the inflationary costs and help farmers grow more crops and food we need to feed Canadians and the world.”
The tariffs were first announced in March of last year and to date $115 million of their proceeds have been sent directly to fund the Ukrainian war effort.
Farmers groups have been calling on the federal government to drop the tariffs for some time, although Ottawa has not budged to the demands.
Some have criticized the Liberal government for unfairly targeting the agricultural community via its policy.
As exclusively reported by True North in the Fertilizer Files, Agriculture Canada floated the idea of forcing a carbon tax-like “regulatory backstop” onto farmers should voluntary efforts to reduce nitrogen emissions by 30% below 2020 levels not meet federal standards.
“A number of policy measures could be put forward for consideration beyond just a ‘voluntary agreement,’” wrote Agriculture Canada officials.