Canada's policy on ethanol production is damaging the country's agricultural sector, according to a report from agri-food think tank, the George Morris Centre.

The report, entitled Ethanol as Public Policy in Canada: Understanding the Broader Policy Context, suggests that ethanol production conflicts with Canada's meat export business.

The think-tank also makes a number of other key criticisms concerning the production of grain-based ethanol.

"Canada is positioned strategically as a meat exporting country," said Al Mussell, senior research associate at the George Morris Centre and the report's lead author. "Ethanol development is in direct conflict with this strategy."

According to the George Morris Centre, "significant differences" between US and Canadian policy issues make the case for developing a unique biofuel strategy, rather than simply following the US policy formula.

Larry Martin, co-author of the report, said he does not believe the current plan fits into the broader Canadian policy context.  "The current ethanol development plan cannot be viewed as strategic, considering the significant detriment to the beef and pork industries," he said. "If you have to subsidise a programme that heavily, you are detracting from, rather than adding value to, the sector as a whole."