Farmers, students hurt by food prices

By Noah Miller

As the cost of tuition rises, so do the cost of groceries. A study done by the Wild Rose Agricultural Producers of Alberta compared an identical basket of groceries from May of 2008 with June of this year.

WRAPA found that the original $188 purchase in May ’08, based on Canada’s Food Guide, had gone up $6 to $194. This may not seem like a substantial amount, but a three per cent increase adds to the financial stress already existing with many students.

“This means more money out of my pocket,” said third-year University of Alberta agriculture student Erin Mercer. “It’s harder to eat healthier and make better choices.”

More alarming than the incremental increases is the cash isn’t finding its way back to food producers. According to the same WRAPA study, farmers’ revenue is decreasing.

In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, agricultural group studies revealed that while food prices rose by more than three per cent, farmers’ share decreased by about 1.7 per cent. While the farmer’s share for grains and milk increased, meats, vegetables and fruits declined.

“It’s completely unfair . . . if the cost of food is rising, the farmers should be getting a better share of that money,” said third-year University of Calgary history student Teagan Kaemingh. “Where is the extra money going?”

Leave a comment