The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has launched consultations to develop a Sustainable Agriculture Strategy (SAS), formerly referred to as "the Green Agricultural Plan".
The overarching and integrated strategy will focus on five priority issues – soil health, climate adaptation and resilience, water, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity.
The strategy is intended to guide support of the “livelihoods of farmers while growing a sustainable sector”. A diverse partnership will collaborate to equip Canada's agriculture sector to “recover quickly from extreme events, thrive in a changing climate, contribute to world food security, (and) contribute to Canada's overall efforts to cut emissions”.
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau made the announcement alongside her parliamentary secretary Francis Drouin as well as Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency); Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA); and Martin Caron, President of the Union des Producteurs Agricoles and CFA board member.
The Government of Canada wants to amplify work already underway by producers and increase adoption of best sustainability practices.
Provinces and territories will be engaged through the consultation phase and focus on working collaboratively towards strategy development. Public consultations and targeted workshops are expected.
As part of the consultation process, a discussion document is now available for comment. Consultations run until March 31, 2023.
Co-chaired by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the CFA, the SAS advisory committee will comprise experts, ranging from producers to associations and non-governmental organizations. The advisory committee is tasked with ensuring “continuous dialogue with the sector as the Strategy is finalized in the next year”.
"The Sustainable Agriculture Strategy comes at a critical time… Farmers are being asked to balance immediate financial pressures with long-term sustainability goals. This approach, which considers all facets of sustainability – environmental, economic, and social – is needed to ensure we can find pragmatic business solutions that support continued competitiveness and reduce the sector's environmental footprint," remarked Mary Robinson, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.