Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay recently announced a federal investment of up to $8.3 million to the Organic Federation of Canada, under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, AgriScience Clusters.
This research investment, which includes an additional $4.4 million in contributions from industry, will help the organic sector enhance productivity through better soil health and fertility management, advance crop breeding research, improve pest management, and evaluate the environmental impacts of organic farm practices.
Minister MacAulay also announced an additional investment of $292,555 to the Organic Federation of Canada under the federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation program. The funding will assist industry in streamlining the review process of the Canadian Organic Standards and improve the Canadian organic industry’s competitiveness and international market access. This funding builds upon the $250,000 announced by the Minister on January 26, towards the Canadian General Standards Board to complete the 2020 review of the Canadian Organic Standards.
The Canadian organic industry is one of Canada’s fastest growing agricultural sectors. Retail sales of organic food products have grown, on average, by double digits over the past decade, with current sales estimated at $5.4 billion across Canada.
James Robbins, President of the Organic Federation of Canada says the funding “will allow researchers to continue improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, which is at the heart of organic production. The Canadian Organic Sustainability Framework supports the entire organic value-chain and review of the Canadian Organic Standards, which is essential for maintaining our integrity and competitiveness on the world stage.”
In 2016, 4,289 farms reported organic farming in Canada with the total acreage of organically farmed land at 2,433,602 acres. The organic acreage in Canada grew by five per cent per year between 2006 and 2015.
The Government of Canada has identified the agriculture and agri-food sector as a core driver of jobs, growth and prosperity, setting an ambitious target to grow Canada’s agri-food exports to $75 billion annually by 2025.