The Canadian Dairy Commission authorized the exceptional import of 4000 tonnes of butter until 31 December 2015. The reason: just before the time of holidays, the country may run out of butter.
There should not be any shortage in grocery stores, however, warns Chantal Paul, spokesman for the Canadian Dairy Commission, a Crown corporation that manages the marketing of milk and evaluates the thirst of Canadians. This butter is imported for the processing sector, she said, so manufacturers biscuits, cakes and other products rich well.
The corporation chose to apply for a larger amount at one time – 4000 tonnes equivalent to 8.8 million pounds of butter (454 grams), rather than make a new application in case of shortage.
About 2000 tonnes of butter are already ordered the US, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium and Uruguay. It does not end up on supermarket shelves, but will instead be routed directly to food manufacturers.
More butter on toast
How can Canada missed butter, since the dairy sector is under supply management? This system, as frequently remind farmers, is a social contract that assures Canadians that they will never fail to dairy products.
“Since the beginning of 2014, there was growth in consumption of butter and cream,” says Chantal Paul, spokesman for the Canadian Dairy Commission.
Canadians drink less milk, but begin to put butter on their toast and cream in their sauces and cafes. Consequently, Canadian farmers have increased their rights to produce.
“The national total quota increased by 4.8% between January 2014 and December 2015,” said Chantal Paul. The balance between demand and production was reached in the summer of 2015, she says, but the butter stock is at its lowest.
During the holidays, butter consumption increases, the Commission has got this special permission from Ottawa to import butter to prevent a shortage.
Another factor likely caused melting butter stock: Canadian Industrial can import milk products under certain federal programs, outside of imports measured by the Commission. The implementation of these programs would have faltered this year, leading to the current situation.
Over the past year, Canada
Percentage increase in butter sales
Percentage increase in sales of cream
Percentage increase in cheese sales
Percentage of decrease in milk sales
Source: The Milk Producers of Quebec
Milk producers are not happy with this situation, the ones who have had a difficult year marked by a decrease in milk prices paid at the farm. “The import of butter’s good to anyone,” said François Dumontier, advisor to public and government relations for Milk Producers of Quebec. “In 40 years of supply management, it did not happen often, but elements have distorted the assessment butter and cream the Canadian Commission.” Mr. Dumontier says it will rebuild stocks butter to avoid ending up before a similar situation.
Each year, according to its trade agreements, Canada imports 3274 tonnes of butter, mainly from New Zealand. It will calculate at least an additional 2,000 tonnes this year.