by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Canada’s food sector is putting in a lacklustre performance as far as agricultural production is concerned, a new report from the Conference Board of Canada indicates.
A report card on food production released Monday suggests that when it comes to components like agricultural production, livestock production and “total factor productivity growth” in agriculture the Canadian industry scores at best a C. (“Total factor productivity” is an economist’s measure of how efficiently and intensely inputs are utilized in production.)
Those agricultural details are among 43 food sector components measured and grouped under five main categories in the Conference Board’s Canadian Food Observatory inaugural report card on the Canadian food sector’s performance.
The poorly performing agricultural components all appeared under the report card’s industry prosperity category for which Canada scored a B- overall.
The Conference Board might be a hard marker. Canada’s sector isn’t the only one to score poorly on the details of section: Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Finland and Sweden, for example, all scored D when it came to livestock production. Those countries were among 16 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries that the report card used as comparison for Canada’s performance.
The Canadian food sector also scored poorly under the environmental sustainability category (C+), scoring Ds for components such as greenhouse gas emissions and ammonia emissions as well as a C for soil quality. However, Canadian agriculture scored A across the board for components such as nitrogen and phosphorous balance as well as soil erosion caused by water.
Other main categories in the report card were food security (Canada scored a B), food safety (A) and healthy food and diets (B).
“Already, Canada performs well in several areas against international peer countries, but it could rank much higher if progress were made in key areas of our food system,” says Michael Bloom, the board’s vice-president of industry and business strategy in a news release.
A Conference Board spokesperson did not respond to a BetterFarming.com request for an interview.
The report card was developed in response to the Conference Board’s Canadian food strategy. In the release Bloom describes the report card as “an important initiative promised in our strategy as a way to track Canada’s progress and identify emerging issues.” BF