Market failure, not inefficiency, destroying farms--report

October 21, 2004

OTTAWA--According to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the idea that farmers are suffering financially because they are inefficient or uncompetitive is false.

The report, The Farm Crisis, Bigger Farms, and the Myths of Competition and Efficiency, by Fred Tait and Darrin Qualman, is based on government data and concludes that "since the early 1960s, farmers have increased their efficiency at a rate unmatched by other sectors and at a rate almost triple that of the Canadian business sector as a whole." To blame the current farm crisis on inefficiency "is to stand reality on its head, to will black white."

After disposing of the inefficiency myth, the report goes on to detail the real cause of the income crisis: the overwhelming economic power of the transcontinental corporations that dominate the other links in the agri-food chain and their ability to extract all the profits from our farms. "Farms are making too little because others are taking too much," say the authors.

"Farmers are working harder, producing more, and becoming ever more efficient," says Darrin Qualman, "but other power players are taking the rewards. As the system is currently structured, farmers are just the hamsters in the wheel that powers an expanding agribusiness empire. And the government's so-called solution to the farm crisis is for the hamsters to run faster."


The Farm Crisis, Bigger Farms and the Myths of Competition and Efficiency is available at the CCPA web site:

For more information contact:
Kerri-Anne Finn, Communications officer, CCPA, 613-563-1341 x306.