Selected Case Studies from the Americas
Edited by Mohammed H.I. Dore and Rubén Guevara
Chapter 6: Agriculture versus forestry in northern Saskatchewan
1 Mohammed Dore, Surendra N. Kulshreshtha and Mark Johnston INTRODUCTION Background The province of Saskatchewan is a major grain and oilseed-producing region of Canada. Much of this production, however, is destined for export, to eastern Canada and Europe in the earlier part of the 20th century, and to Far East Asian countries in the more recent period. Increased demand for Canadian grains, and relative shortage of land in the southern belt of the grain-producing regions, led to the movement of agriculture northwards. Such expansion was also facilitated by several policies of the various levels of government. Major policies would include settlement policies, where almost free land was given to prospective settlers, and the subsidy for transporting grain and oilseeds to various export locations, known as the Crowsnest Pass Agreement Rates. Other polices, such as fuel rebates and quota systems, also provided encouragement to agricultural production in the northern belt of the grain-producing region. Settlement of western Canada and, in particular, northern Saskatchewan, witnessed the opening up of some 4 million hectares of previously uncultivated lands, some of which were under forests and other natural vegetation. Much of this land was cleared in the early part of the 20th century in response to short-term high prices of grain in the international grain market. Much of the agricultural activity on the marginal lands was made proﬁtable only under agricultural subsidies noted above. It is the contention of this study that such actions were not socially optimal, particularly in light of present-day...
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