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Sask. not alone as supply chain issues affect markets around the world

Saskatchewanians are feeling the pinch of supply chain issues as COVID-19 rages on. 

Anecdotally across the province, people have reported seeing bare shelves in stores, and anything from a lack of brussels sprouts and bananas to a lack of products needed to make your favourite Taco Time order.

The TacoTime in Southland Mall in Regina said it was serving modified versions of its usual products because of supply chain issues. 

“Please be aware that published allergen and nutritional information cannot be guaranteed at this time,” a notice posted at the location read, in part. 

TacoTime at Southland Mall in Regina was having supply chain issues, and it’s not the only business affected by a long shot. (Kevin O’Connor/CBC)

David Karwacki, CEO of Star Produce in Saskatoon, said he doesn’t know if suppliers will be able to get supplies they need to keep produce growing.

“It’s a mess right now. Globally, it’s a mess,” Karwacki said to Peter Mills on CBC’s Blue Sky Tuesday.

“There’s nothing that’s easy right now when it comes to the supply chain. There’s a lot of disruption and that means inflationary pressures. Prices are going up.”

Karwaki said because of the perishable nature of produce, there’s more of a scramble to not let it go to waste. But backup is still happening. 

“If you’re a grower in this country, all of a sudden you need to keep on hand extra fertilizer, extra peat moss, extra cocoa, all of those things. So it’s a real strain on the system, on your cashflow, and it’s going to be tough on our local growers this coming summer,” he said. 

And it’s not just COVID. Disasters in B.C. have shaken the supply chain as well, and climate change could continue to affect it too.

“Supply chains rely on predictability and certainty and consistency. And as soon as you start taking some of those things away, that’s when things fall apart,” Richard Reid, executive director for the Manitoba and Northern Territories Institutes for Supply Chain Canada, said on Blue Sky Tuesday.

Reid said that he knows many businesses are trying to localize where they source material or products because it can stimulate the local economy, among other benefits.

Climate woes

“The challenge going forward though is going to be climate,” Reid said. 

“There’s lots of studies and lots of science that shows where we traditionally produce these goods … we may not be able to produce them going forward or to the same level of production.”

Reid said was water shortages in the southern United States are one current example of those issues. He said there are producers there who are worried they won’t be able to grow any vegetables because of those shortages — vegetables that we in Canada rely on. 

“People need to be thinking forward on, ‘How am I going to be continue doing business in an environment that’s going to be vastly different than it is now?'” Reid said. 

Read More: Sask. not alone as supply chain issues affect markets around the world

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