May 1, 2019 1:22 pm
Updated: May 1, 2019 3:10 pm

Saskatchewan premier welcomes federal loan relief for canola farmers

WATCH: The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it would increase the maximum loan limit for the advance payment program from $400,000 to $1 million and the loan limit for the AgriStability program from $100,000 to $500,000.

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Saskatchewan’s premier says the federal government’s boost in cash advances to canola farmers buys time in order to sort out a trade dispute with China.

Scott Moe says Ottawa largely granted the province’s request of raising the ceiling of a payment program to $1 million from $400,000.

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READ MORE: Ottawa increases loan limits for canola farmers to $1 million amid China trade dispute

The province had initially asked for the maximum amount of $1 million to be interest-free, but Moe says he appreciates the federal government making $500,000 interest-free.

“We’re appreciative of the effort and, in fairness, the federal government has shown that they do support western Canadian agriculture,” Moe said Wednesday.

“What would be sufficient for farmers is market access into China and all other countries in the world.”

Moe said the province will be taking part in future trade missions to Japan and South Korea to try to expand its customer base for canola.

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan says the increased cash advances will be another tool farmers can use to weather the trade dispute.

“It’s not the silver bullet that’s going to fix everybody’s problem,” said president Todd Lewis, who pointed out the relief comes in the form of a loan.

READ MORE: Scott Moe calls on ‘reciprocal’ action on Chinese imports over canola ban

Ottawa’s move comes after China blocked Canadian canola shipments in what is widely considered retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

This week, Moe called for Canada to apply reciprocal treatment in the form of increased scrutiny on Chinese products coming into Canada.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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