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Consequences impairing nation’s agri-food industry

The consequences of falling profitability, lost opportunity, and declining relevance are impairing the nation’s agri-food industry. A new research report released by the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute finds Canada is not realizing the full potential of a major strategic asset – the country’s agri-food industry.
David McInnes, President and CEO of the Ottawa-based Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) discussed the report at a presentation and wine and cheese reception at The Grange Winery, 990 Closson Road, Hillier. The event was co-sponsored by The Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Company.
McInnes explained the report identifies a number of compelling reasons for change including fact that the food system and its resulting negative impact on the health care system (two-thirds of hospital stays are due to food-related illness)  is going to make healthcare unsustainable and that increasing demands on food production will  continue to stress the environment.
The report concludes that Canada should aim to have the most successful good food system on the planet and has identified a number of areas where a strategic shift is required.

About CAPI
The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is a catalyst. The Institute is focused on stimulating a national dialogue on agriculture and agri-food issues, by addressing the policies that will enable Canada to thrive in the global agri-food marketplace. It is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that offers an independent voice on the mid- to long-term challenges facing the agriculture and agri-food industry. CAPI is addressing the policies that will enable Canada to thrive in the global agri-food marketplace.
Website: http://www.capi-icpa.ca/
The full report can be downloaded at:
http://www.capi-icpa.ca/destinations/CAPI-Agri-Food_Destination_FULL.pdf

Biography for David Mc Innes
David McInnes is President and CEO of the Ottawa-based Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), a catalyst for advancing a national dialogue on emerging issues facing the country’s agri-food sector. Previously, he was Vice-President, International Relations at MDS Nordion, a major life sciences company, and has worked for the Canadian Bankers Association, the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. David is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Dalhousie University. David is currently a director of WaterCan and has been a director of the Greater Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the Ottawa Life Sciences Council, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation and the U.S.-based Council of Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.

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  1. Jim Hair says:

    It should be noted that a National Food Strategy is being promoted by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. It’s purpose is to achieve a sustainable future for agriculture and the food industry in Canada. This would seem to dovetail with Mr. McInes’ ambition.
    To learn more, click on this link or cut and paste.

    http://www.nationalfoodstrategy.ca

    The NFS is also a major part of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture’s federal election initiative. Below you’ll find information and also a question for federal candidates regarding NFS

    Adopt the National Food Strategy

    The federal government must adopt industry’s National Food Strategy to guide policy development safeguarding our national food supply and to improve the health and well-being of future generations.

    Background:

    This twenty year Strategy provides the long term vision to government and the private sector as the basis for solid agriculture policy for Canada. It provides the objectives and outcomes to deliver a sustainable food system for Canada. It encompasses the ways and means for a profitable farm and food production sector, sound environmental practices along with improved health objectives.

    The Strategy deals with our domestic and international market interests, providing measurable goals to achieve improved market share at home and abroad.

    Adoption of the National Food Strategy by government and industry will provide a shared set of goals on which sound agriculture and food policy can be built.

    Canada does not now have such a strategy and it shows. In spite of being an affluent society with an abundance of food, our farms are suffering from low or negative returns and staggering debt loads. Our food processing sector is leaving the country to relocate in more favourable business locations. And, in spite of our affluence and abundance of healthy foods, adults and children are increasingly suffering from food related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

    The NFS will set Canada on a new track that strategically plans our food supply and usage to improve our own health and security while contributing to the food needs of the world.

    Question re NFS

    1. National Food Strategy

    Canada has no long term strategy for its food production, processing and distribution systems. There is no plan to ensure a secure source of food in the future nor any direction on how best to utilize resources to help feed ourselves and the nine billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050.

    Canada’s farmers, input suppliers, processors and distributors along with health professionals and others are developing our first National Food Strategy that will guide a cohesive and planned approach to policy development over the next 20 years.

    Will you actively promote the adoption of the National Food Strategy as the Strategic Vision for food in Canada to guide the development of all policy related to food in Canada?

  2. Jim Hair says:

    This seems somewhat out of touch.

    Profitability, especially for the Grains & Oilseeds sector is high. Beef prices are increasing. Our dairy & chicken producers are doing well because of Canada’s common sense approach to supply management.

    Agriculture sustainability has increased by leaps & bounds. Ontario agriculture is leading the way with the Environmental Farm Program. Tens of thousands of farms across the province have completed projects and improved the environmental profile of their property and farm operations.

    Due to plant breeding and research, crop yields have dramatically increased while at the same time using fewer inputs and preserving the soil through modern tillage techniques.

    Canada has the best agriculture in the world. Our standards and food quality are second to none. Our consumers have the lowest cost for food relative to average income in the world.

    We need commitment from all levels of government to maintain these things. Research and development are imperative.

    There is no doubt about the relevance of modern, advanced agriculture. We can only hope it is supported by a well informed populace.

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