A mix of drought in Canada’s prairies and flooding on its Pacific coast have brought about crop production and shipping woes now leading to international shortages of fries and mustard.
In Japan, for example, McDonald’s has been forced to ration fries as the British Columbia floods squeezed potato imports, while mustard producers in France are forecasting steep price increases because the drought in another part of Canada – the world’s biggest producer of mustard grains – cut supplies.
“When we look back at the state of the agriculture sector in 2021, we can say this year has been marked by extreme climate change weather events,” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a recent speech.
“That includes the worst drought in 60 years in Western Canada and the devastating atmospheric rivers in British Columbia,” she told livestock farmers and ranchers who’ve struggled to secure enough hay to feed their animals as pastures dried up.
According to government data, farmers in Canada produced more corn but less wheat, canola, barley, soybeans and oats in 2021 compared with 2020. The lower yields – which Statistics Canada said marked the largest year-over-year decrease on record, falling to levels not seen in more than a decade – were driven largely by drought conditions in Western Canada.
Keith Currie of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture told AFP, “There’s a lot of angst in the farming community.” Some farmers have lost everything, others are considering quitting as the future looks bleak.”