Clock is ticking for Canadian biofuel
(204) 724-0824 (cell)
CFA Executive Director
(613) 715-3113 (cell)
(OTTAWA) – As Canadian federal and provincial ministers prepare to meet in Regina to discuss a Canadian biofuels strategy the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is urging ministers to act quickly: Canada may have less than two years to achieve measurable results. Within 18 months the U.S. will have biofuel plants under construction along the Canada-U.S. border.
“A fully-realized domestic biofuels industry in Canada could have big benefits for Canadian farmers and farm incomes, but the window of opportunity is small,” said Bob Friesen, CFA President. “If we are not at least breaking ground on facilities, with comprehensive government policies and incentives in place, before the U.S. makes its investment decisions, Canada could once again be relegated to the role of provider of raw materials while the benefits of value-added are realized elsewhere.”
CFA is encouraged by the interest and support the federal government has shown in the biofuels issue. A domestic biofuels industry would benefit Canadian farmers and all Canadians by: building a strong, new and innovative value-added industry in Canada, creating jobs and economic contribution within rural communities, increasing regional tax bases, reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases by millions of tonnes, and contributing significantly to improve primary producer incomes from the marketplace.
CFA has drafted a proposal for a Canadian renewable fuels strategy which it has presented to the Senate and House of Commons Standing Committees on Agriculture. In that proposal CFA is calling for a national strategy with cooperation between industry and all levels of government. CFA is recommending a whole-value-chain strategy with components including:
- A renewable fuel standard of 5 per cent bio-ethanol and 5 per cent bio-diesel
- Direct marketing of bio-fuels to consumers in partnership with retailers
- Tax incentives to improve investment incentives for processing facilities
- Strong fuel quality standards developed in partnership with stakeholders
- Capital investment, loan guarantees, support for cooperatives and others, to encourage primary producer investment and ownership
- Business and technical support to aid producers
- Targeted support to support the use of domestic feedstock
- Focused research on processing technologies and new energy specific varieties
“Canada has the potential to be a world leader in value-added biofuels innovation. But the U.S. and Europe are already moving, and moving quickly,” said Friesen. “A properly constructed domestic bio-fuels strategy is required now to both ensure our domestic bio-fuel production potential is realized and maximize the benefits to domestic producers. Agriculture industry groups are united in their support for a national biofuels strategy and CFA is committed to working with government to develop that strategy.”
The CFA proposal for a Canadian renewable fuels strategy is available on the CFA web site: www.cfa-fca.ca
Founded in 1935 to provide Canada's farmers with a single voice in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the country's largest farmers' organization. Its members include provincial general farm organizations as well as national and inter-provincial commodity organizations from every province. Through its members, CFA represents over 200,000 Canadian farmers and farm families.