Wednesday, May 20, 2020

CEBA Expansion: Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. The changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic. You can read the full release here.

AAFC Update on International Supply Chains

United States (U.S): On May 8, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the reopening of 14 meatpacking plants following President Trump’s executive order to maintain the U.S. meat supply. With the reopening of plants, it is anticipated it will take several weeks before lost capacity is recovered. Part of the delay will be related to safety measures slowing production line speeds.

Europe, Middle East, and Africa: Agri-food supply chains continue to function at reduced capacity. Some of the issues facing the supply chain include: warehouses filling up quickly; a lack of availability of cargo flights for fresh produce (and increased prices); and road transportation subject to containment measures and border checks that may impede the free flow of goods.

European countries have started to ease COVID-19 measures, with several announcing plans to re-open the restaurant and food service sector. The UK and Russia are the latest countries to start easing restrictions with phased approaches.

Rest of Asia: Ports continue to remain operational throughout Asia. Congestion was reported due to a reduced work force and cargo remaining in warehouses for extended periods of time. Recent relaxation measures in many countries have facilitated movement and in countries with nationwide lockdowns, such as India, imports are now being reported near to normal. The increased use of online shopping and digital platforms, and the slow resumption of the foodservice and hospitality sector in some markets, is changing consumers’ demand for food products (e.g., flour in Japan grocery stores).

Food Service Recovery: COVID-19 has significantly affected the foodservice on a global-scale, cutting foodservice revenues, causing unemployment and interruptions in the global value chain.