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Industry NewsAssociation head Ron Lemaire discusses produce supply, pricing concerns at government hearing

Association head Ron Lemaire discusses produce supply, pricing concerns at government hearing

Ron Lemaire, president of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), is the latest food industry leader to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food examining food prices. During his presentation, Lemire discussed issues impacting the produce industry, including inflationary pressures impacting pricing, supply chain issues and Canadians’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Earlier, on February 14, Costco COO of the international and Canadian divisions, Pierre Riel, spoke to the committee.

“The issues impacting the fresh produce industry supply chain are diverse and complex,” Lemaire told the Committee. “Fresh produce consumption is declining and this is a concern. Government support is needed to keep produce accessible to Canadians and make it easier for Canadians to meet Canada’s food guide recommendations to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables. Year over year, consumption rates have decreased as food prices have increased…the latest Stats Canada numbers show that almost 80 per cent of Canadians over 12 are eating less than five servings day. There are both health and economic consequences to these trends.”

He told the committee that supporting access to nutritious food should include a national school food policy and school meal program that could contribute significantly to improving access to fresh produce. He also addressed the need to reduce the regulatory burdens that impact the ability to grow and distribute fresh produce across the country.

Referencing the Grocery Code of Conduct, Lemaire, an interim board member of the Code of Conduct committee, says, “Everyone continues to work hard to introduce a voluntary code, which is uniquely Canadian.”

Listen to Lemaire’s full testimony here.

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