Report Confirms Agriculture's Contribution to Jobs and the Economy

Ottawa, Ontario, March 26, 2012 - The agriculture and agri-food sector is becoming increasingly modern, innovative, and competitive, and it is becoming a more significant part of Canada's economy. As illustrated in An Overview of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System, an economic report released today by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canada's agriculture industry is turning the corner from facing unprecedented challenges to meeting exciting opportunities.

"We have plenty to be proud of here in Canada when it comes to the sector," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "If we look back a few years, we see that our farms have become more modern, more productive, and more innovative. We see that the industry has been restructuring and adapting to consumer demands, advancing technology, and other global trends."

  • In 2010, the agriculture and agri-food industry directly provided 1 in 8 jobs, employed more than 2 million people, and accounted for more than 8 per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The food and beverage processing sector was one of the top manufacturing industries in Canada in 2010.
  • The agriculture and agri-food sector has become increasingly internationally focused over the past 15 years. In 2010, Canada was the fifth-largest exporter of agriculture and agri-food products in the world, with exports valued at more than $35 billion.
  • Canadians still enjoy some of the lowest food costs in the world, with food spending from stores accounting for almost 10 per cent of personal household expenditures in recent years.
  • The increase in total government expenditures in support of the agriculture and agri-food sector was 9.5 per cent between 2009-10 and 2010-11, from $7.2 billion to $7.9 billion.

"It wasn't that long ago that producers and processors were reeling from BSE, H1N1, reduced market access, and weather-related disasters," continued Minister Ritz. "As farm businesses evolve to meet changing demand or issues, so too must government adapt its approach to support industry's need for increased innovation, market access, and reduction of red tape."

The annual overview report provides basic information about the agriculture and agri-food sector, tracks how the sector has been performing over time, and reflects the challenges and changes that have occurred in recent years. It reviews in detail all segments of the sector, covering not only primary agriculture and input suppliers, but also food and beverage processing, food distribution, consumer trends, and government investment. This year's report also included a special feature on employment trends in Canada's agriculture and agri-food system.

The report is produced by AAFC's Research and Analysis Directorate. A more detailed abstract can be found online at Overview of Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food System 2012.

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa (Ontario)
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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