A few weeks ago, the National Farmers Union (NFU) in Canada launched a campaign to raise awareness about the problems of growing peppers in their fields.
It’s the first time that farmers across the country have been asked to make public commitments to help the Canadian market recover from the devastating effects of the peppercorns crisis.
“Peppers are one of our most important commodities,” says Mike Hulme, a farmer in southern Saskatchewan.
“And it’s an industry that we rely on for the survival of our farms.”
So, the campaign is an attempt to create a new reality for the industry, one that encourages farmers to take responsibility for the problems they are causing and to help their peers who are also experiencing the crisis.
For the last few years, the US government has been trying to control peppercorn prices.
The Federal Government has been increasing the price of peppers by 5 per cent annually since the end of last year.
And there have been some signs of improvement.
The Canadian government announced last month that prices were expected to return to normal levels in September, but there are still a lot of people in the industry who are concerned.
“I am worried about the market recovery,” says Hulmes son, Johnson’s Farm.
“We have been seeing prices decrease and we’ve seen prices increase since the pepper crisis.
And we are in a very difficult spot.
I have a lot more concerns about the farm.
It has become a huge concern.
The farm is growing the wrong peppers.
The prices have gone up.
The cost of the equipment has gone up and the cost of seeds has gone down.”
Johnsons Farm is one of the growers who have suffered the biggest drop in prices.
“They are the first ones to feel the effects of that,” he says.
“When prices went down, the people who were in the middle of the industry were pretty much the last to suffer.”
Hulms farm is just south of Saskatchewan’s northern border, and the average price of a pound of pepper went up by almost 40 per cent between 2014 and 2015.
“It was really hard to keep up with that,” says Johns farm owner, Bill Farmer.
“A lot of the farmers were making a lot less money than they should have been, and then they had to go and take the farmers strike.
And that’s the same thing with the farmers.
They are just not making enough money to buy the right equipment.”
Johns Farm, which is also in the western part of the province, has lost half of its harvest in the past two years.
He says the shortage of supplies is costing the farm more than $1,000 per acre.
Johns is also worried about his business, which depends on importing a lot to keep his crop going.
“With all the prices going up, I think the price is going to keep going up,” he adds.
“Our costs are going to go up.
Our sales are going up.
We are losing money.
We don’t have the funds to keep our equipment up.”
The average price for a pound (about 1,500 grams) of peppers has also gone up, by about 10 per cent.
Johnson and Farmer are not alone in feeling the pain of the rising prices.
In October, the U.S. Federal Agriculture Department (USDA) said that the average American family is spending $1.7 million on peppers annually.
“If you’re a single person with kids, that’s probably $2,500 a year for food,” says Farmer.
And he says that the problem of prices going down could mean that some of his family members are going hungry.
“What you have to do is make sure that your neighbours are not getting in the way of you growing peppers,” he explains.
“There are many things you can do to help.”
So what can you do to support the farmers and help them make ends meet?
“There is a lot you can try,” says Farmers.
“You can buy a couple of things from your local supermarket.
Buy a box of seeds and a bag of peppercurs.
If you have a farm stand, you can grow peppers in your garden.
You can plant your peppers.
You should try to find a farmer who is willing to help you grow your crop.
You may also want to look into becoming a certified organic farmer.”
If the prices go up, that means there is a shortage and it means that the farmers are going out of business.” “
Look at where the prices are going and what is happening with the industry.
If the prices go up, that means there is a shortage and it means that the farmers are going out of business.”
If you or someone you know needs help, you may contact the National Peppers Council at: