Business & Policy
Consultations now open for Canada’s Sustainable Agriculture Strategy
By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
On Dec. 12, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced the launch of consultations to develop a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (SAS) in collaboration with a diversity of partners.
“The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy will pave the way to help us sustain the livelihoods of farmers. Drawing from their expertise and best practices, we can ensure that the sector is more resilient in the face of climate change,” Bibeau said.
The strategy will serve as a guide to support the livelihoods of farmers while growing a sustainable sector. By identifying goals and a way forward, Canada’s agriculture sector will be equipped to recover quickly from extreme events, thrive in a changing climate and contribute to world food security, while also contributing to Canada’s overall efforts to cut emissions.
Producers have already taken action on sustainability in a wide range of ways. The Government of Canada wants to amplify the work already underway and increase adoption of these best practices. Their expertise will be used to identify the best solutions in the development of the strategy.
“Farmers are on the front lines of climate change. In my home province of Manitoba, we’ve experienced two back-to-back droughts which have proved immensely challenging for farmers,” said Terry Duguid, parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change. “We need to be strategic in how we contribute to cutting emissions, preparing for and recovering from extreme weather events. Canadian farmers work hard every day to put the best quality food on our table and we want to ensure they have the best tools to do so sustainably for generations to come.”
The strategy will be developed in close collaboration with the agricultural sector. Provinces and territories will be engaged through the consultation phase and focus on how to best work collaboratively towards developing the strategy. The process will include public consultations, targeted workshops and an advisory committee. Co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), the advisory committee will be comprised of industry experts, including producers and representatives of associations and non-governmental organizations. These members will collaborate to identify shared challenges and solutions as steps are taken towards finalizing the strategy in the next year. The committee’s inaugural meeting occurred on Dec. 12.
The overarching and integrated strategy will focus on five priority issues: soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation and biodiversity.
“The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy comes at a critical time for Canadian producers. Farmers are being asked to balance immediate financial pressures with long-term sustainability goals,” said Mary Robinson, CFA president. “This approach, which considers all facets of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – is needed to ensure we can find pragmatic business solutions that support continued competitiveness and reduce the sector’s environmental footprint.”
As part of the consultation process, a discussion document is now available for comment. Consultations run until March 31, 2023.