Manitoba Agriculture Minister Derek Johnson has introduced a bill that would end the province’s single desk marketing system for table potatoes and root vegetables.
Bill 12, “The Peak of the Market Reorganization Act,” would transition Peak of the Market from a non-profit regulated marketing agency into an independent company. It would also remove the requirement that table potato and root crop producers hold production quota, and allow them to sell fresh potatoes and root crops, such as carrots, onions, parsnips and rutabagas, directly to customers, rather than having to market these crops through Peak of the Market.
Using terminology that harkens back to end of the Canadian Wheat Board as a single desk marketing agency for Western Canadian wheat, the province says the the bill introduced on Thursday will give “marketing freedom” to producers.
“This legislation would allow producers to grow as many table potatoes and root crops as they wish and to sell to any buyer, while paving the way for a modernized business model for Peak of the Market and strengthening our provincial economy,” says Johnson.
The production quota system, aimed at maintaining stable pricing, was originally implemented in the early 1970s under the Manitoba Vegetable Producers Marketing Plan regulation.
The chair of Peak of the Market’s producer-run board of directors welcomed the introduction of the proposed legislation.
“This is an important development for Manitoba’s vegetable growers by contributing to the modernization of the industry. It will provide significant economic benefit to our community,” said Peter Loewen, in a release shared by the province on Thursday. “Growers are hard-working Manitobans who look forward to continuing to cultivate the best produce, in the most sustainable ways, to create jobs and economic growth for our province.”