A report recently released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), shows the strong contribution of the agriculture and agri-food sector to Canada’s economy.
Using historical data up to 2011, the Overview shows that the farm and food sector displayed robust performance in 2011, enjoying high farm income levels, record levels of government investment in agriculture-related research and development, strong market receipts, and strong performance of agricultural exports.
“Farm performance overall continues to remain strong as the industry becomes more competitive, innovative, and profitable,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “The report shows that the agriculture and agri-food sector continues to be internationally focused, which is why our government continues to place such a strong emphasis on opening new and maintaining existing markets.”
• The agriculture and agri-food system continues to make a significant contribution to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employment, directly providing one-in-eight jobs, employing 2.1 million people, and accounting for 8% of total GDP, or $101.1 billion.
• Shifting consumer and societal demands are influencing changes throughout the agriculture and agri-food system. Consumers are seeking more variety, more convenience, and more environmentally friendly and healthier food choices, as well as food that reflects consumer values (e.g. organic and halal products).
• Relative to other countries, Canadians enjoy some of the lowest food costs in the world, with spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages from stores accounting for just under 10% of personal household expenditures, which is higher than in the U.S. (6.6%) but lower than in France (13.5%).
• The food and beverage processing industry is one of the top manufacturing industries in Canada.
• The mix of crops and livestock production is evolving, reflecting changes in the types of products consumers are demanding and changing market prices and conditions. Non-durum wheat has been overtaken by canola, and planted soybean area increased between 2006 and 2011.
• Federal, provincial, and territorial government spending in support of public research and development in agriculture and agri-food is important for the future productivity growth and competitiveness of the sector. This spending has been increasing over the past four years and is expected to reach $561 million for the 2011/12 fiscal year.
The annual Overview provides basic information about the agriculture and agri-food sector, tracks how the sector performs over time, and reflects the challenges and changes that have occurred in recent years. It reviews in detail the whole value chain, covering not only primary agriculture and input suppliers but also food and beverage processing, food distribution, consumer trends, and government investment.
AAFC also recently released the Farm Income Forecast and the Medium Term Outlook. Together, these three reports provide a comprehensive historical profile of the sector, as well as a financial and market outlook for producers, industry and stakeholders, and governments as they plan for the years ahead.
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