We Grow a Lot More Than You May Think
Find out what makes our agriculture and agri-food industry the apple of Canada's eye.
Why is the agriculture and agri-food sector so important? It's a colossal contributor to the lives of all Canadians. It feeds us, as well as our economy. It employs us, and depends upon the environmental stewardship of our farmers. It is fuelled by innovation and ingenuity. In short, it grows a lot more than you may think!
The agriculture and agri-food industry contributes over $110 billion annually to Canada's gross domestic product (GDP). (That's more than the national GDP of 2/3 of the world's countries).
No Wonder the Tomato Wears a Crown
Why agriculture is a big deal. What makes agriculture king? Canada is the 5th largest agricultural exporter in the world, and the agriculture and agri-food industry employs 2.3 million Canadians (that's 1 in 8 jobs). We produce about 75% of the world's maple syrup, we are the world's largest exporter of flaxseed, canola, pulses and durum wheat and we’re one of the largest producers of flaxseed, canola, pulses and durum wheat.
This Kidney Bean is Counting the Ways Agriculture is Amazing
Agriculture's hidden marvels. Think agriculture only produces things that you eat? Think again! Did you know the airbag in your car contains cornstarch? That diabetic test strips contain an enzyme found in horseradish? Or that some shampoo and skin care products contain oats? The list goes on! Agriculture also has a major impact on the economy. Canola - now the oil of choice for millions around the world - was developed by Canadian scientists and planted by Canadian farmers. In 2016, Canada contributed 67% to global canola exports.
No Wonder our Beef Gets All Dressed Up
Agriculture's meaty contributions. There are 10.1 million beef cattle (including bulls, beef cows, heifers, steers and calves) in Canada. In addition, roughly 26 million pigs are raised in Canada each year, making us the world's third-largest exporter of pork products, after the European Union and the United States.
About Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
As you might expect, AAFC helps farmers and industry feed our country, but this is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce! We are working to grow Canada's exports, while providing leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food industry.
We Help Farmers Stay Ahead
AAFC programs help farmers maximize long-term profitability and competitiveness, in markets in Canada and abroad. Our programs help Canadian producers and processors adapt to changes in consumer demand, shifts in global competition, and production challenges caused by severe weather, disease or trade actions. We also work with other federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial governments, and industry to deliver programs and services.
We Have the Cream of the Crop
Through its science and research, AAFC has stimulated innovation in the farming sector for over 130 years. With our partners, we tackle new challenges every day, such as researching new ways to fight disease; improving crop varieties and yields; and ensuring that our food products are healthy, safe and of high quality.
We Help Keep Things Green
Clean air, soil and water are everyone's priority. Building on the tradition of Canadian farmers as stewards of the land, AAFC continues to invest in science and work with farmers to ensure that Canada's food comes from sustainable farming practices.
AAFC's vision is focused on driving innovation and ingenuity to build a world-leading agricultural and food economy for the benefit of all Canadians.
Our industry goes well beyond the field. When a Canadian product leaves the farm, its success story is just getting started.
Manufacturing...the greatest thing since sliced bread
Manufacturing is a critical part of the contribution made by agriculture to the modern economy. In today's world, not too many people take home a sack of grain and mill it themselves; they rely on manufacturing to prepare products for home use. The food and beverage processing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Canada with annual sales worth $112.4 billion. It accounts for 16% of total manufacturing shipments and for about 2% of the national GDP. It's the largest manufacturing employer and provides jobs to 285,100 Canadians.
Agriculture and agri-food grows the economy in a wide variety of ways, including over $110 billion generated each year in related manufacturing.
An industry with Vision
A quick look at just a few of AAFC's most recent innovative agricultural stories, from coast to coast:
We have an eye on the future
Atlantic Canada – Magic Beans
New trade opportunities are being created by developing more varieties of value-added crops, such as short-season soybeans. These new varieties could increase farm revenues by an estimated $100 million.
Quebec – Getting Proactive on Probiotics
Probiotics are a hot topic in disease prevention right now, but their high sensitivity to temperature, pH levels, digestive juices and oxygen makes their qualities difficult to harness. To deliver probiotics' full health benefits, researchers are currently working on a protective coating that can survive the harsh conditions of human digestion.
Ontario – Thinking Outside the Beehive
AAFC is partnering with universities to create a process called "vectoring," which sees bumblebees deliver a microbial agent directly to greenhouse plants during pollination to control pests. The biopesticide is harmless to bees, plants and people.
Prairies – Turning Straw into Gold
The paper-making business is tearing up convention. Investments in innovation are working to put a new paper on the market that will be made from wheat and flax straw. The innovation would provide farmers with income from a byproduct that would otherwise be considered waste.
British Columbia – Breaking New Ground
Field and laboratory studies are helping to minimize the environmental impact of nitrates in surface and ground water. This ground breaking research aids the environment while maintaining optimum crop production.
The North – Cold Climate Cultivation
Work is underway to identify the challenges of producing food in the North with traits that can thrive in northern climates while also helping to create new economic opportunities.
Modern agriculture is based on innovative, sustainable and competitive farming practices.
Canada's agricultural sector: Modern. Innovative. Growing.
To learn more, watch our videos on the AAFC YouTube channel.
For more information, Contact Us.
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