by KRISTIAN PARTINGTON
Stakeholders in the chicken industries of Quebec and Ontario have reached an agreement in principle that addresses inefficiencies related to excessive transportation of live birds between both provinces for processing.
In September 2009, representatives from processors and producers in both provinces began working through the complexities of the issue. Kevin Thompson, executive director of the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors, said the agreement helps solve a problem that has been recognized in the industry for a number of years.
“The fundamental objective,” said Thompson, “was to make sure that chicken grown in Ontario is processed in Ontario and chicken grown in Quebec is processed in Quebec.” For years, equal numbers of live birds were crossing between provinces for processing, he said, noting the trade resulted in unnecessary cost mark-ups that cut into profits and hindered overall productivity.
Thompson added that interprovincial trade in live birds won't cease as a result of the agreement, which takes effect after approval by Quebec's Régie des marchés agricoles et alimentaires du Québec and the development of appropriate regulations and policies by the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO). The agreement will instead address the negative impact to provincial processor allocation systems caused by excessive cross-border movement of live birds.
Chris Horbász, Director of Policy and Industry Relations with the CFO, said he expects the final details of the agreement to be arranged through a series of meetings over the coming weeks.
According to data on interprovincial movement of chicken in Canada presented in the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s 2009 annual report, more than 39 million kilograms of live weight chicken were brought into Ontario and 38.5 million kg were shipped from the province in 2009. During the same year in Quebec, nearly 50 million kg were shipped in and nearly 40 million kg were shipped out interprovincially. BF