CAIA Newsletter ~ Summer 2019

Farmers Understand the Vast Potential of Canada’s Agri-food Sector, but do Politicians?

Contributed by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture - the unified voice advocating for Canadian farmers at the national level – recently launched Producing Prosperity in Canada, a non-partisan advocacy campaign leading up to the federal election in October. 

In 2017 the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, led by Dominic Barton, highlighted agriculture and food-processing as a key growth sector for Canada.  Canada possesses world-class agricultural expertise, a modern economy, and established infrastructure to move products to market, noting that more is needed to leverage the sector’s potential for expanded trade and domestic growth.  Canadian farmers currently export 50% of their products, and internationally Canada’s agri-food industry has earned an excellent reputation for producing safe, high-quality food, due in part to our high environmental safety standards. Canada is well-positioned to satisfy increasing food demands, both domestically and abroad.  But the sector needs increased government support to fulfill its vast potential.

Aimed at incumbent MPs, new candidates, and policymakers of all political stripes, the Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign promotes specific benefits of the agri-food sector – as the most significant economic engine in Canada, a champion of food security, and innovative contributor to national environmental stewardship:

Economic Growth – The Canadian agri-food industry generated $112 billion in GDP in 2016, and between 2012 and 2016 overall growth of the sector was 11%, compared to 7.8% across the entire economy. The industry provides 2.3 million Canadian jobs, that’s 1 in 8, making it the second largest employer in the country. Canada produces twice as much food as it consumes and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing domestic and global food demand.

Food Security – Canadian agriculture produces among the most diverse range of products and food in the world. Our regulatory leadership has allowed our farmers to produce food of exceptionally high quality, enabling us to become among the most efficient and affordable worldwide. Canadians spend less on food than most other countries, using under 10% of disposable household income on groceries.

Environmental Stewardship – Currently only about 6.5% of Canada’s land mass is being farmed, and a strong agri-food sector helps ensure this precious resource is preserved for future generations. Canadian farmers have drastically reduced carbon emissions from on-farm activities over the past 3 decades, and new technology and innovation efforts continue to further reduce the carbon footprint. Research partnerships between government, academia and agriculture are targeting lower emissions from crop production and livestock, and continue to explore opportunities to use water more efficiently.

Since the campaign launched in April, Producing Prosperity in Canada has been met with tremendous support, and dozens of federal politicians have signed the campaign pledge to, “support maximizing Canada’s agri-food industries to grow and prosper, for the benefit of all Canadians.”

Recently the CFA’s summer meetings were held in Quebec City, attended by agricultural commodities from across the country, and discussions ranged from canola to carbon-capture, to Food Day 2019 (on August 3rd), to government relations.  The meetings culminated with a Federal, Provincial and Territorial Agriculture Ministers Roundtable gathering, and the Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign provided a strong framework for the discussion.

No one understands farming issues better than farmers themselves.  Who better to communicate with government about the policies that will move Canadian agriculture forward?

The federal election is less than 3 months away, which makes ‘now’ the perfect time for CFA members to connect with their local political hopefuls from all party stripes, to promote the importance of Canada’s Agri-Food sector as a national priority.

Led by the CFA, the Producing Prosperity in Canada campaign will continue to request support for maximizing Canada’s agri-food industries to grow and prosper, for Canada and the benefit of all Canadians.

To learn more, please visit: