November 4, 2021 – On behalf of North America’s fresh produce industry, national and regional associations have released a joint statement calling for urgent government action to address significant ongoing supply chain disruptions impacting our food systems, economies, and ultimately individuals and families across the continent and worldwide. Produce challenges are amplified by the perishable nature of fresh fruits and vegetables and the very real potential that increased food insecurity could result from a failure to address the disruptions noted below. The signatories noted:
Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, substantial increases in costs and delays along the supply chain threaten our food security and the long-term economic viability of the North American fresh produce sector.
Examples of ongoing supply chain disruptions include:
- Crippling port congestion
- Delays and exploding costs in container shipping
- Cascading effects of inconsistent product delivery
- Continuing labour shortages
- Growing input shortages
- Stockpiling of product by consumers
We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for our governments to work together to address these issues in a multi-lateral and holistic manner. The examples outlined above clearly demonstrate the complexity, interconnectedness and dependencies of our supply chain and the challenges we face. It is imperative that governments work urgently with all parts of the supply chain to mitigate the serious threats of food insecurity and food shortages. These multi-faceted problems will not be resolved overnight and delays in course correction are likely to compound and further complicate the situation.
Simply put, without multilateral engagement to find solutions, these issues will create long lasting impacts to the detriment of all North American economies. Our organizations stand ready to work with governments and partners throughout the supply chain to ensure a path forward that enables the continued flow of our essential goods.
The Joint Statement will form the basis for advocacy and outreach to address disruptions and has already been submitted to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing on The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain. In Canada it was submitted to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Agriculture first ministers meeting scheduled for November 8 – 10. This is a starting point for industry engagement which will continue to evolve.
Read the full statement here. Media inquiries may be directed to any of the organizations listed in the full statement.
– 30 –