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How Canada can secure its spot as an agri-food powerhouse

1.5 min read

Canada has a global reputation for being an agri-food powerhouse, and many voices around Canada’s trade table believe the country can achieve greater success.

Dominic Barton is chair of the federal Advisory Council on Economic Growth and lead author of a 2017 report aimed at making Canada an elite global exporter. He recently spoke at an FCC Virtual Event about export growth opportunities in the Canadian food sector.

Canadian export opportunities

Canada has potential to move from fifth to second place as a global food exporter, second only to the U.S and passing China, the Netherlands and Brazil. Canada’s trusted record in food safety, resource availability and research clusters could lead to the capture of emerging market trends.

The Canadian food sector has great potential... with the capacity to expand into Asia to meet the growing demand created by an expanding middle class.

Canadian-produced food export goals are set at $75 billion by 2025, and the growing Asian middle-class has a high potential for growth opportunity for Canadian food exports.

With three billion people set to join the Asian middle class by 2030, there is a buyer-base and the need for more protein, including plant-based. Canada can be a key provider.

Barton recommends treating China and Asia like home markets, even though they’re far away. The result could mean Canadian business into China could quintuple to keep up with demand.

Expanding Canadian exports: a three-pronged approach

  1. Adopt a new and focused approach to Canadian food sector development, based on removing obstacles and setting bold ambitions in collaboration with the private sector.

  2. Identify a small number of high-potential sectors that would benefit from this approach, based on inclusive growth criteria.

  3. Launch a Canadian food pilot by convening private and public sector stakeholders, identifying major obstacles to growth, defining a vision and goals and recommending concrete actions.

“We’re making a lot of progress,” Barton says. “We have this amazing brand that we are not maximizing.”

For more on this topic, visit the Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

Article by: Trevor Bacque