Mustard Shortage: What's the Impact on Saskatchewan's Economy?

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Mustard Shortage: What's the Impact on Saskatchewan's Economy?

According to a Saskatchewan database of prices of agricultural products, the tariff for yellow mustard seeds has tripled since 2021.

Mustard harvests and production are down this year in Saskatchewan. This situation is due to the difficult climatic conditions such as the drought experienced by the Prairie in 2021.

Saskatchewan is therefore experiencing a shortage of mustard this year due to below normal crop yields.

About 120,000 hectares were planted with mustard last year, down about 25% from the 10-year average of 160,000 hectares.

This decrease in yields influences the price of mustard. According to a Saskatchewan agricultural commodity price database, the price of yellow mustard seeds has tripled since last year.

This price increase would not be constant, however, indicates the senior director of the Laboratory of Analytical Sciences in Agrifood, Sylvain Charlebois. However, he believes that this will have a significant impact on farmers.

“If input costs don't go down and commodity prices go down, you could see a lot of growers not planting because the motivation won't be there.

— Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director of the Agri-Food Analytical Sciences Laboratory

Sask Mustard General Manager and Mustard 21 President and CEO Rick Mitzel abounds in the same meaning.

It certainly affects the system and since they have no more money, they spend less of it, which affects on the economy, he says.

“They're losing revenue, not just on mustard, but on all the crops they grow”

—Rick Mitzel, Executive Director of Sask Mustard and CEO of Mustard 21

Marc Loiselle, a Fransaskois farmer, says that for the past 2 years, his attempts to harvest mustard have been unsuccessful. He therefore decided to stop this production even if the consumer demand is high.

Mr. Loiselle pointed out that the shortage also affects the ability of farmers to obtain mustard seeds.

Although mustard is usually resistant to heat, Marc Loiselle argues that last year's heat waves destroyed the harvest.

According to Sylvain Charlebois, the shortage we are currently experiencing will not last too long.

With information from Kassandra Lebel and Désiré Kafunda

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