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Ag industry identified as a key economic priority for Canada

With this week’s release of the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth's (ACEG) second wave of recommendations, it has identified the Canadian agriculture and food sector as a key economic priority.

In the report “The Pathway to Prosperity,” the Economic Council identified a number of different sectors that have the potential for significant growth and job creation in Canada, including agriculture, advanced manufacturing and life sciences. The report recommends that the government and private sector work together to conduct a detailed review of each sector, assessing its strengths, barriers to growth and policy initiatives to overcome the barriers.

The report said agri-food is one of Canada's largest economic sectors, providing 2.1 million jobs and contributing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

With an annual growth rate of 9.5 per cent during the last five years, agri-food companies have outpaced most other sectors of the economy.

To kick off the work, the Economic Council recommends the food and agriculture sector as the first to undergo the detailed sectoral analysis.

The report also recommended more growth-capital financing to small- and medium-sized companies looking for funds to expand. Historically, Canada has experienced a "market failure" for accessing risk capital for commercialization projects that drive innovation and growth.