Trudeau moves forward to drastically reduce fertilizer use to fight climate change with more organic farming

“Let them eat cake” seems to be the message from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Prince’s Prime Minister concluded meetings with provincial ministers on Friday and announced he will move forward to reduce the permitted use of fertilizers by Canadian farmers as the next step in the fight against climate change.

The Trudeau government wants a 30% cut in emissions, but agricultural experts say cutting nitrous oxide emissions can’t happen without reducing fertilizer use, which will hurt their ability to stay in the agricultural business. Farmers also say it will lead to reduced food production in Canada and lead to food shortages at a time when there are already global food shortages.

In 2021, the agriculture and agri-food system employed 2.1 million people, provided 1 in 9 jobs in Canada, generated $134.9 billion (about 6.8%) of Canada’s gross domestic product, according to the Canadian government.

“The world expects Canada to increase production and be a solution to global food shortages. The federal government needs to show it understands that,” Alberta Agriculture Minister Nate Horner said. “They owe it to our producers.”

Horner said this year’s crops are the most expensive ever planted, “after a very difficult year on the Prairies.”

“We are really concerned about this arbitrary target,” said Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit. “The Trudeau government has seemingly abandoned its attack on the oil and gas industry and has its sights set on Saskatchewan farmers.”

Reducing fertilizer emissions was not on the agenda of the annual meeting of Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Agriculture. The provinces pushed the federal government to discuss this topic and were disappointed to learn that Trudeau had already set the 30% target.

“The commitment to future consultations is only to determine how to achieve the objective that Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister [Marie-Claude] Bibeau has already unilaterally imposed on this industry not to consult on what is feasible or achievable,” the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan said in a joint statement. Bibeau is the country’s agriculture minister.

“Western Canadian farmers already produce the most sustainable agri-food products in the world, and they are continually being asked to do more with less. We cannot feed the growing world population with reduced fertilizer,” provincial leaders said. “Western Canadian growers base fertilizer inputs on realistic goals based on moisture availability. Growers are careful in the use of fertilizers and do not add more than is necessary. They alone simply cannot bear the impact of this short-sighted policy.

Canada is a net exporter of staples such as cereals. It has 0.5% of the world’s population, but produces about 1.5% of the world’s food, while consuming about 0.6% of the world’s food production.

Sri Lanka has been the test kitchen for the organic-only policy. In 2021, President Rajapaksa banned imports of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, forcing the millions of farmers in this country to switch to organic virtually overnight. The result was disastrous, with major food shortages, social unrest and ultimately a protest that took control of the capital and forced the resignation of the government.

Sri Lankan scientists and agricultural experts had warned of dire consequences for many crops, such as cocoa, coffee, soybeans and other staples.

in Sri Lanka, rice production fell by 20 percent in the six months following the implementation of the organic-only policy. Instead of feeding itself, the country spent $450 million on rice imports. Tea production, which is the country’s biggest export, fell by 18%. The people of Sri Lanka today face impending starvation.

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