There are signs that the Manitoba Government is beginning to see the light cast off by the need for a more sustainable food supply; but, as always, the Manitoba Government continues to stare at the ground two inches ahead rather than looking off into the distance whence the light is coming.
The government's announcements to help fund organic certification, and research into reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as movements in the right direction, but they need to be understood in context.
Both of these announcements (released on October 1, 2008 and September 23, 2008 respectively) were rather paltry, when compared to other releases seen this year. Consider that the cumulative projected costs of these two
announcements amounts to $1,338,000 million. In contrast, a single hog factory can receive up to $5 million in loan support under the $60 million Manitoba Hog Assistance Loan Program announced on June 5, 2008.
Or, how about the fact that the Government committed $19.6 million ($13.7 million directly) in funding to Neepawa and Brandon to clean up the mess created by the hog-processing plants (Springhill Farms and Maple Leaf).
If half of the money spent on propping up the hog industry had been used to support farmers for maintaining unadulterated wilderness, for switching to organic methods or for developing small-scale localized food production systems, we would already have a sustainable agriculture in place.