Monday, February 13, 2017

Agriculture flagged as economic driver

Canadian agriculture is a key economic driver that could double its exports, says a new report from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

The report says agri-food is one of Canada’s largest economic sectors, providing 2.1 million jobs and contributing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

With an annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent during the last five years, agri-food companies have outpaced most other sectors of the economy.

It says Canada should strive to become the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, after the United States, and double its share of world exports in processed food.

The Minister of Finance established the Advisory Council on Economic Growth in March 2016 to provide policy advice for long-term economic growth.

The University of Guelph is using the report to blow its own horn.

It says the report lists the University of Guelph as a key contributor in helping the agri-food sector meet its potential for growth.

“We are gratified that the report recognizes U of G’s prowess in agri-food and our ability to help Canada become a global leader in food, especially sustainable food production,” said president Franco Vaccarino.

“We applaud these recommendations,” Vaccarino said. Achieving the government’s vision will require universities, regulators, producers, processors and retailers to work together to innovate, to improve regulatory systems and to ensure transparency.

U of G is uniquely positioned to help lead this endeavour, he said.
“We are home to one of Canada’s foremost clusters of agri-food expertise and an innovation leader.”

The university says it has “a continuous history of generating impactful innovations in food, animal and human health, environment, and communities spanning nearly 150 years.

“The University is known for bringing together agricultural expertise and sector leaders, as well as businesses and other organizations,” said Vaccarino.

The federal government gave the university $77 million last fall for its Food From Thought research project.

“The challenges and opportunities around food and agriculture have never been greater,” Vaccarino said.

“We can show the world that Canada is ready to play a central role in tackling the global challenge of feeding our growing population and doing so sustainably.”