APAS says Competition Burueau’s concerns over Bunge-Viterra merger echoes its earlier comments

The Competition Bureau of Canada pointed out the Bunge-Viterra merger would create “substantially” less competition for grain buying in Western Canada, as well as the sale of canola oil in Eastern Canada.

It’s something that Ian Boxall, the president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, said confirms what he and the organization have been saying since last June.

“There would less competition which then it’ll become a ‘take it or leave it’ type thing,” Boxall said. “Especially where I farm up in the Tisdale/northeast here with Bunge and three Viterra (terminals) — it reduces the competition up here for sure and there’s other areas in the same boat. They just drove home what our concerns have been from the start of this announcement.”

Bunge is a minority shareholder of G3 Global Holdings, which has facilities in the same regions as Viterra.

In addition to concerns of the erosion of market competition, APAS is worried the merger “could mean less competitive pricing for farmers’ produce, less competitive grain contracts, less access to export sales data, all creating more economic difficulties for farmers.”

Boxall also believes there is concern from the general public about the merger.

“Viterra has an office in Regina, what happens with that? What happens with those jobs and those people that are employed there? So there is interest to the public in this merger because there could be huge affects to Saskatchewan.” he said.

Transport Canada’s public interest assessment is ongoing until June 2 before providing it to Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez. The final decision on the proposed merger will be made by the federal cabinet, based on advice from the minister.

Boxall encourages anyone and everyone to reach out to Transport Canada or the Competition Bureau and weigh in on the merger.

In the meantime, Boxall says APAS continues raising awareness about the issue and what it means to producers.

“We’ll just keep the pressure up (on) every level of government – provincial and federal needs to ensure that farmers and the province’s best interests are looked at in this merger.”

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