Outward inspection must stay with CGC
In the April 22 Western Producer on page 14, the Alberta Wheat Commission and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers espoused a very pro-industry/anti-farmer policy.
They want the Canadian Grain Commission to oversee inspection, but not actually inspect, grain being loaded on ships at port. The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan and the National Farmers Union all agree that it is in the best interests of farmers that the CGC maintain direct responsibility for outward inspection of our grain.
It is claimed by exporters that inspections done by private firms could save about a penny and a half per bushel. There is no logical reason that this cost reduction would ever be passed back to farmers. Exporters use basis to bid no more than they need to to cover sales commitments. Making a few pennies per tonne more — or less for that matter — at port does not enter the calculations.
In a report released by Sask Wheat on Feb. 17 of this year, we see what the real reason for the push to privatize inspection might be. Inward inspection was removed from the CGC mandate in 2012 and left to private contractors. Discrepancies between what the exporter thought he had as reported by his employee and the actual official grade from the independent CGC can lead to a ship cargo not meeting spec. Grain companies are just trying to reduce their own risk.
As a farmer, the quality of my product being exactly as described to the buyer is tremendously important to me. The integrity of the Canadian brand is important to all of us. I think inspections done by dependant contractors throws a little shadow across that integrity.