Corn plants struggle to survive in drought-stricken farm fields, July 24, 2012. (Reuters/JOHN SOMMERS II)
OTTAWA - Canadian food prices will soon rise because of this year's drought in Eastern Canada, the New Democrats warned Tuesday.
"There's no question prices are going to go up," NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen said. "You will see it right across the country...it is going to be a general price increase."
Allen says several eastern Ontario farmers know they can't salvage crops because they've been so damaged and he wants Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to assure them the government will offer help.
AgriRecovery is a program that allows federal, provincial and territorial governments to review disasters affecting Canadian farmers. A province must first request an assessment when a regional disaster strikes and Ontario hasn't made this request.
"(The federal minister) certainly can't offer money right now. But what he can do is reassure farmers that he's on the file and understands the catastrophe that some already have faced," Allen said. "This is a serious issue."
The feds say there are several programs to help farms "mitigate and manage the financial impact of weather-related events."
"While it is too early to tell to what degree producers will be affected by the dry growing conditions, our government has asked Agriculture Canada officials to monitor the situation," Ritz said in a statement, adding farmers should also purchase crop insurance.
U.S. farmers have also been plagued by a historic drought that has caused corn prices to skyrocket.