UBC Theses and Dissertations
Canadian supply management : a food sovereignty policy? : British Columbia and New Zealand industry stakeholder perspectives on dairy policy in a neoliberal era Gambling, Samantha Jane
As the concept of food sovereignty enters its third decade, greater analytical attention is needed to understand potentially enabling policy mechanisms in specific contexts. The Canadian supply management system for dairy, egg and poultry production is a national policy framework that controls production levels, sets prices, and limits imports. In theory, it is congruent with certain economic and political food sovereignty principles; however, the concept and value of supply management is increasingly challenged and critiqued from various socio-political perspectives. The research presented in this thesis examined supply management as a policy framework for dairy production, and its implications for food sovereignty in British Columbia (BC). In order to provide greater understanding of producer perceptions of a supply managed policy framework in relation to economic, political and socio-cultural aspects of milk production, I conducted 27 in-depth interviews with stakeholders from the BC dairy sector as well as textual analyses of industry reports. I also conducted interviews with 10 stakeholders from the New Zealand (NZ) dairy sector as a comparative case study of producer perspectives on dairy production in a liberalized policy environment. Results suggest that supply management in the BC dairy industry is more conducive to food sovereignty than the neoliberal and neo-cooperative organization of the NZ dairy industry. Yet while supply management supports economic viability for producers and demonstrates capacity for democratic governance and the development of social goals, it also has the potential to propagate economic, political and social inequities within the industry. In particular, producer identification with neoliberal economic objectives renders both supply managed and liberalized dairy systems subject to cultural forces that challenge food sovereignty principles. To function as a food sovereignty framework, supply management will require political adjustments and socio-cultural shifts both within and outside of the industry.
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