High Food Costs in Far North on Gov’t Radar Screen

Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at 15:46



The Saskatchewan government is expressing some interest in what Manitoba is doing to bring the cost of food down in northern communities.


The Manitoba pilot project involves encouraging northerners in remote communities to grow their own vegetables in gardens.


The Manitoba government is also trying to help entrepreneurs establish new grocery stores in the North to encourage competition and bring prices down.


In northern Saskatchewan, a 4-litre carton of milk in Fond du Lac costs over 12 dollars — more than 3 times what it costs in Prince Albert.


Saskatchewan Northern Affairs minister Buckley Belanger is of the view that a permanent road link between the Athabasca communities and the rest of the province is the best way to bring food costs in the Far North down– even if it is costly and could take several years.


However, he admits some of the ideas being tried in Manitoba are definitely worth a look.


Belanger says one option not on the table is to provide a food freight subsidy to Far North communities — something he points out Manitoba is not in favour of, either.


Belanger says there’s no guarantee the savings generated by such a subsidy would be passed down from retail outlets to the consumer.