A report on the potential of Canada’s agriculture sector has won applause from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture as the national farm organization ramps up efforts to put farming front-and-centre in the country’s election.
RBC says the farm sector could boost its contribution to Canada’s gross domestic product to $51 billion by 2030, up from $32 billion today. The report, which acknowledges its debt to studies by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, says achieving this growth will depend on harnessing technology and attracting workers.
A declining rural population will leave the country’s farm sector scrambling for 123,000 domestic farm workers by 2030, hampering its ability to stay productive. According to a report CAHRC completed earlier this year, the shortage in BC will amount to 15,000 workers.
PEI potato farmer and CFA president Mary Robinson called the bank’s report “exciting” in a statement issued under the banner of the “Producing Prosperity” campaign. CFA launched the campaign in April, part of its strategy to raise farming’s profile in the run up to next month’s federal election.
Agriculture needs government’s support, Robinson said, particularly as it struggles with fallout from recent trade deals and disputes that have seen the country’s oilseeds and meat shut out of China and the European Union tighten import rules for fresh produce.
“Now more than ever our farmers need government support to move forward to build a robust, innovative agrifoods sector, for the benefit of all Canadians,” she said.