Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm very pleased that this committee is studying the value chain. I think there are two main groups: the farmers at the one end, who are producing the raw materials that feed into the chain, and the consumers at the far end. On what lies in between, although there is commonality, there are also differences, depending on what the consumer is purchasing and where. Just to give an example, the consumer is purchasing processed food in a grocery store or is going to a restaurant.
The chains can have different variations, but I think there are some commonalities. There's the fact that food moves from the producer to a processor, to a distributor, to a wholesaler, to retailers, to the consumers. I think that chain is fairly well understood, but I would like to understand better the different aspects associated with each step.
I'm interested in seeing how we can maximize revenue for the farmer who is producing the produce that enters into the chain, and how we can ensure good value for money for the consumer at the far end, because pricing is added at every point that the product is handled, processed, moved along, stored, and distributed. I think we want to minimize waste as well. Any time there's waste there's a cost hit to somebody. That's where I see our study being very interesting and important.
The report was a joint affair between the George Morris Centre, Mr. Seguin, and CAFPI, and it characterizes the determinants of successful value chains. In your first recommendation—you mentioned five different recommendations—you say that value chains really require the free-will participation of businesses that are involved in the value chain. In other words, it can't really be legislated. To get proper participation there has to be a voluntary aspect by the businesses themselves that are involved in the chain.
The second thing is that the value chains change. Science and innovation are going on. Consumer demands are changing. The chain must be very innovative, and companies must be very adaptable in order to survive, thrive, and prosper in this environment.
I'm wondering if you can comment on those two recommendations, and particularly on the government's role. I'm not convinced it's heavy legislation or regulation, but I think we do have value to add.
Mr. Seguin and Mr. McInnes, what do you see the role of government being, given these first two recommendations in your report?