Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ontario gets poor report card for agriculture

 The Conference Board of Canada gives Ontario a relatively poor report card for agriculture in the first analysis of its kind.

Saskatchewan came out on top and the Maritimes are at the bottom.

The report deals with five categories: industry prosperity, healthy food and diets, food safety, household food security, and environmental sustainability.

The real shocker is that Saskatchewan ranks at the top for industry prosperity, even though it has few supply-managed dairy and poultry farms. Ontario, which has plenty of supply-managed farms which the leaders of marketing boards claim yields steady prosperity, ranks only a C.

Maybe that's a reflection of how much Ontario poultry farmers are crazy enough to bid for quota.

Saskatchewan got grade As for food safety, industry prosperity, household food security, and environmental sustainability.

Its only B grade is for the healthy food and diets category. British Columbia is also among the top performers. It leads all provinces on healthy food and diets, and environmental sustainability.

The Conference Board report categorizes Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario as middle of the pack performers.

The report card shows that households in Ontario and British Columbia are more vulnerable to food emergencies.

Ontario got a B for food safety, behind Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Ontario gets a D for environmental sustainability, down with Newfoundland and Labrador. British Columbia and Saskatchewan earned As.

The Canadian food system wastes approximately 40 per cent of all food, equivalent to $31 billion annually.

Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec are the top performers in household organic waste diversion, while Alberta and New Brunswick lag the other provinces.

In all, 63 food performance metrics were used to evaluate the overall food performance of the provinces.

“As a developed nation, most Canadians enjoy access to foods that are safe, nutritious, affordable, and available to everyone, produced in ways that are environmentally sustainable,” said Jean-Charles Le VallĂ©e, associate director of the Conference Board’s Centre for Food.

“The food report card highlights areas where the provinces are doing well, but more importantly points out areas where improvements are needed.”