Canadian farmers will help shape the national food policy

Canadian farmers will help shape the national food policy
Dec 19, 2017

Legislators have added new headings to the strategy’s four categories

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Online and public consultations with Canadian growers has led to the addition of two new headings in the national food policy, under development by the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The first of the new categories is related to the next generation of farmers and their ability to acquire land and access labour. The second heading is related to governance of the food policy and ensuring the strategy does what it’s intended to do.

Those new headings were developed as a result of discussions with the agri-food industry says Lloyd Longfield, a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, and member of parliament for Guelph.

Lloyd Longfield

“The governance piece was an important element that was brought up by Evan Fraser from the University of Guelph,” Longfield told today. “You don’t just write a policy and have it sit on a shelf somewhere. He said we need to set up a governance body to review (the national food policy) on a regular basis to see if it’s working.”

The core four areas that A Food Policy for Canada covers are:

  • growing more high-quality food
  • conserving soil, water and air
  • mproving health and food safety
  • increasing access to affordable food

The price of food in Canada may be a little more unaffordable in 2018 compared to 2017, according to Dalhousie University’s Food Price Report, released earlier this month.

The total cost of food is forecasted to rise between 1 and 3 per cent next year, according to the report. The price of vegetables alone is forecasted to increase between 4 and 6 per cent.

And keeping local food affordable is a challenge legislators will have to work through, Longfield says.

“Canada has some of the highest quality food and some of the lowest costs,” he said. “We grow more than we can use so we’re able to export food, unlike some countries. But (we need to address) income and affordability.”

As 2017 draws to a close, Longfield reflected on his local constituency and the province’s agricultural sector.

From an increase in minimum wage, agribusiness investments in Guelph and potential free trade with China, farmers and agvocates have been busy this year.

“It’s been an active year for agriculture, that’s for sure,” he said. “And it’s so much fun to represent this area because you can get farmers and all three levels of government in the same room if you have to. If anything about agriculture is going on in the country, there’s a good chance this area is involved in it somehow.”

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