Created on 5/2/2017 4:44:20 PM
On April 20, 2017, Canadian agri-food leaders gathered at the Public Policy Forum (PPF) breakfast symposium to discuss how to strengthen competitiveness and leverage the sector’s full potential.
(l-r) Moderator: David McInnes, former CEO CAPI, Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Company, Gordon Bacon, Pulse Canada, Jay Bradshaw, Syngenta, Marc LePage, Genome Canada, Gwen Paddock, RBC, Carla Ventin, FCPC
According to a recent report by Canada’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth, Canada must take bold and ambitious steps now to ensure its place among global leaders in food production in the years to come.
The report, entitled “Unleashing the Growth Potential of Key Sectors” proposes a comprehensive roadmap for accelerated growth of the Canadian economy, with an emphasis on the growth potential of Canada’s agri-food industry. The world’s population is estimated to grow to 9.6 billion by 2050; requiring a 70% increase in global food production, according to Dominic Barton, Council Chair. Canada is one of only a few countries that can deliver on the world’s increasing desire for trusted, high-quality, reliable and sustainably supplied ingredients and foods.
During the panel discussion, industry leaders noted that food companies are a key to success and the driving force for innovation because they’re at the consumer end of the agri-food sector.
Barton explained, free-trade agreements — not just with the increasingly protectionist United States but especially with China, India and Japan — are critical, but added that Canada has to sell its brand, not just its raw materials.
Although the council recommends creating a hub connecting all the parts of the sector, the panelists agree that the industry remains silo-ed. “Government needs to talk to one another more,” said Carla Ventin, FCPC.
The panel also explored recommendations made within a joint PPF and Canadian Agri-food Policy Institute (CAPI) report that summarized roundtable discussions from more than 150 agri-food stakeholders from across the country, including FCPC.
“We support the recommendation that the Prime Minister establish an Agri-Food Growth Council with leaders from across industry, which will set concrete goals and report progress. We also support the call for an inter-departmental task force to improve cross-departmental collaboration and triage regulatory obstacles,” said Carla Ventin.
FCPC was pleased to see many of our key comments reflected in the final report including:
- A whole-of-government approach and leadership at the highest level
- Modern, balanced and science-based regulations
- Greater alignment within government including Health Canada
- Identification of warning labels on the front of pack as a key challenge
- Importance of competitiveness and how we are falling behind internationally
- Need for timely access to new technologies like automation
- Specific challenges with the value added sector including gaining international market access