Helping Canada grow
by Kim Cooper
How will we continue to grow our Canadian agriculture sector to feed a growing population around the world? That is a question that continually confronts our food and farming sector.
The following article was written by Ted Menzies, who was the former President and CEO of CropLife Canada.
“Canadian agriculture is all about feeding people, contributing to Canada’s economic prosperity and caring for the environment. The plant science industry plays an important role in this by delivering tools to farmers that help them do these things.
You may not think of them as ‘technologies’ in the same way as online shopping or the latest app on your smartphone but the pesticides that protect crops and the plant biotechnology that creates hardier and healthier crops represent leading-edge science that makes our lives better.
CropLife Canada recently commissioned a study that helps us to measure our industry’s contribution to Canadian society – and the role it plays in helping Canada grow. When you add up all the benefits plant science technologies deliver to Canadians, it’s pretty remarkable.
The benefits directly touch Canadian families. In fact, the average Canadian family saves about $4,400 on groceries every year because pesticides and biotech crops help farmers produce a reliable and affordable food supply.
These savings are significant. For some families it may mean they can save for post-secondary education or pay for extra-curricular activities. For others, it’s the difference between being able to adequately feed their families or not.
The study also revealed that our technologies deliver substantial environmental benefits. Pesticides and biotech crops help farmers make the most of the land already being used to grow food, which allows them to leave natural habitats untouched and support biodiversity.
Without these tools, farmers would need 50 per cent more than they use today to grow the same amount of food. To put that into perspective, that’s more than the total area covered by New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined.
Plant science innovations also help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut back on fuel use. These same technologies also help farmers improve the quality of their soil and make it less vulnerable to wind and water erosion.
We all have a vested interest in protecting the environment and I’m proud to say that agriculture is a leader when it comes to environmental sustainability. But plant science innovations also help ensure the economic viability of the agriculture industry.
Agriculture might not be top-of-mind for people when they think about economic drivers for Canada but the plant science industry contributes about $9.8 billion to the GDP each year. A big part of this comes from our strong agricultural exports. Canada ranks number five in the world in agricultural exports.
One in eight jobs in Canada is tied to agriculture and more than 130,000 of those are the direct result of the plant science industry.
We as an industry also generate $1.8 billion in federal, provincial and municipal tax revenues, which in turn support the programs and services that enrich and strengthen our communities.
These are all just a taste of the way plant science innovations are helping Canada grow and continue to be one of the best places in the world to live.
For more information on our industry’s contributions in Canada, I encourage you to visit www.helpingcanadagrow.ca.”
Here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’