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Canadian agriculture ministers meet in Prince Edward Island

Held discussions on sector challenges and opportunities

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

Agriculture ministers representing Canadian federal, provincial and territorial interests met in Prince Edward Island to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the agricultural sector.

Among the discussions that took place was the reassurance that developing new markets for Canadian agricultural products, especially through the Trans-Pacific Partnership can be a positive for Canadian farmers, ranchers and producers.

Canada is currently involved in trade agreements with 38 countries and nearly 44% of the world’s agriculture and agri-food markets.

The discussions held in Prince Edward Island is a way to get all parties involved and ensure everyone is on the same page.

"Agriculture continues to be a major driver of Canada’s economy,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in a release. “Continued federal-provincial-territorial collaboration is crucial to ensuring that billions in strategic investments translate into real benefits for our producers and processors through more innovation, improved competitiveness and access to new markets."

The ministers discussed transportation and the importance of creating efficient systems to improve Canada’s reputation as a reliable supplier of agriculture and agri-food.

Another topic of conversation between the ministers was the importance of bee health and pest control. The ministers agreed that policies based on science and internationally recognized and respected are needed.

Alan McIsaac, Minister of Agriculture for Prince Edward Island is happy with the progress made during the discussions.

Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and its continued sustainability and profitability relies on the continued collaboration and partnership of our jurisdictions,” he said in a release. “Working together we will continue to provide effective support to our Canadian agriculture industry so that it can continue to innovate and thrive.”

Other topics included:

  • Importance of innovation and market development
  • Contributions of the food and beverage processing sector
  • Importance of temporary foreign workers
  • Working together with consumers to build trust in Canada’s food systems
  • Recent challenges with food and farm tampering

Canadian agriculture at a glance:

  • Agriculture and agri-food generated $108.2 billion in 2014, equal to about 6.6% of Canada’s GDP
  • In 2014, one in eight Canadians worked in the agriculture and agri-food sector
  • Canada is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products. Exports in 2014 reached $56.4 billion.

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