CANADA - The Manitoba government is establishing a new task force to evaluate existing programmes and policies used to help farmers recover from climate-related challenges such as flooding, with the goal of identifying more comprehensive and sustainable programmes, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said Minister Ron Kostyshyn.
"Manitoba's farmers have told us existing agricultural programs can't adequately address these climate-related challenges, especially as they become more common," said Minister Mr Kostyshyn.
"We are following through on our commitment to review existing programs and consider options that will be more predictable, comprehensive and sustainable for farmers and governments. I look forward to hearing from Manitobans as part of the task force's work on this important issue."
The Agriculture Risk Management Review Task Force will be chaired by Arborg-area farmer Bill Uruski and include five additional members to represent the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, a financial institution, farmers and others with expertise in this area.
Its work will include:
- holding a series of public consultations to receive input from Manitoba farmers, organizations and other stakeholders;
- evaluating the effectiveness of current risk management tools, including production insurance, to help manage and recover from climate-related challenges;
- identifying gaps in existing policies and programs;
- recommending new options to improve farmers' ability to manage climate-related risks; and
- identifying ways to shift government support from ad hoc assistance to planned and predictable programs.
"Living in the Interlake, we have also experienced many of the same challenges that farmers living in other parts of the province have faced in recent years," said Mr Uruski. "It's certainly timely to undertake a review of all available business risk management tools, while seeking input and advice from farmers, insurance policyholders and other stakeholders."
The Manitoba government first committed to review existing agricultural risk management tools and their ability to assist farmers dealing with climate-related challenges in the most recent throne speech, the minister said.
Public consultations are expected to begin this spring, and a final report with recommendations to government will be submitted by the end of the year, the minister said.
Information about the task force's public consultations will be available at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture and at local MAFRD GO Offices once dates and locations are finalised.
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